Autobiographia Literaria by Frank O’Hara

Listen: haven’t you always been alone, and haven’t you always been okay with that? Because it is what it is: people are together alone, or are they alone together?

But listen: poetry offers you a space to be, and a space to be here, and maybe right now that’s what matters.

Listen: these poems are where everything started — the creation of your languaged self! And how astonishing. How right. How true.

Autobiographia Literaria
Frank O’Hara

When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out “I am
an orphan.”

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!

This is from The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara, edited by Donald Allen, published by Vintage Books, 1974.


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