BY COREY BRYAN
The New York School of Poetry produced some of the most influential and renowned poets of the 20th century. This group of poets was founded in the 1950s and included such greats as John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler.
The New York School of Poetry was known for its experimental, innovative and often humorous approach to writing. The poets of the school wrote in a style which was characterized by a rejection of traditional poetic forms and a focus on the use of everyday language. Their poetry often featured a playful, lighthearted tone and often dealt with topics such as everyday life, love and the city of New York.
The New York School of Poetry was a reaction to what many of the poets saw as the overly formal, academic style of poetry. They sought to create a style of poetry that was more accessible to the average reader, and their work was widely read and appreciated by the general public. Here’s an example of their personal, relatable, everyday style from Frank O’Hara’s “Having a coke with you”:
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
The New York School of Poetry was also influential in the literary world. Their work inspired a new generation of poets who looked to the New York School for guidance and inspiration. Many poets, such as Allen Ginsberg, have credited the New York School for their influence on their own work.
Their reimagining of what poetry could be helped shape the state of modern poetry. The school’s innovative approach to writing has inspired countless poets, and their work continues to be read and studied by people all over the world.
Allen, Donald M., editor. The New American Poetry. Grove Press, 1969.
“A Brief Guide to the New York School | Academy of American Poets.” Poets.org, 24 May 2004, https://poets.org/text/brief-guide-new-york-school. Accessed 27 January 2023.
O’Hara, Frank. Lunch Poems: 50th Anniversary Edition. City Lights Publishers, 2014.
Yezzi, David. “Last One Off the Barricade Turn Out the Lights.” The New York Times, 1999. nytimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/1999/01/03/books/last-one-off-the-barricade-turn-out-the-lights.html. Accessed 27 January 2023.
“The Radical Friendship of Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg”. Rona Cran. 24 June 2020.https://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/fiction/safe-in-your-thoughtful-arms-the-radical-friendship-of-frank-ohara-and-allen-ginsberg/. Accessed 27 January 2023.
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