A Comparison Of Painting And Poetry Of Frank O Hara

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Dina Moroz Professor Al Filreis English 88 30 October 2014 Painting and Poetry: A Comparison Although Frank O’Hara was not a painter, his interest and immersion in the art world likely inspired his free verse poem, “Why I am Not a Painter” (1956). O’Hara discusses two works — Mike Goldberg’s painting, SARDINES and his own poem, “ORANGES” — to compare the creative processes of painting and writing poetry. The first stanza serves as an introduction, while the second and third stanzas discuss the two processes. O’Hara answers, albeit quite indirectly, the question he poses in the title at the very end of the poem, when he reveals that all forms of expression are influenced by the written word. In the first stanza, O’Hara asserts that he is not a painter, but a poet. At first glance, he seems to imply a mutually exclusive relationship — he is not a painter because he is a poet. However, he admits that he wishes he were a painter, expressing his respect for the art form. Further, the word “Well” has multiple meanings. It suggests that O’Hara is content with being a painter and introduces the dialogue that follows.…show more content…
O’Hara “drops in” on his friend and painter Mike Goldberg. “Drop in” suggests that the two are equals, and this is further emphasized when they have drinks. Additionally, the repetition of “Days go by” in the description of both processes further unites them and emphasizes that they exist in the same sphere. O’Hara states that Goldberg has the word “SARDINES” on his canvas, and the painter simply replies, “Yes, it needed something there.” When Goldberg’s painting is complete, only traces of the word “SARDINES” remains, as he believes it was “just too much.” This dialogue creates a sort of natural rhythm in the poem, while the lack of interpretation mimics Goldberg’s approach to

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