Frank O'Hara: standing still and walking in New York

Course Dates: 28/03/20
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street

'Urbane, ironic, celebratory, wildly funny’, Frank O’Hara’s poetry registers the pulse of post-war New York, city of abstract expressionism, modern jazz and innovatory poets, many of whom circled O’Hara’s sun.


What is the course about?

We shall discuss a representative selection of O’Hara’s poems against the background of his art criticism and the creative milieu in which he flourished. In the process, we shall explore O’Hara’s remarkable evolution both as poet and as cultural impresario, while gaining insight into the vibrant New York scene in which he played a such a distinctive role. (Wherever possible, we shall listen to recordings of O’Hara reading his own poems).

What will we cover?

Starting with poetry’s source in song, we shall look at how poets offer contrasting views of nature, urban life, and love.
As well as lyric poetry, we shall consider important verse forms, particularly the sonnet, blank verse and free verse. The work of Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Hopkins will be discussed alongside major 20C poets such as Wallace Stevens, Robert Creeley and Basil Bunting. Throughout the course we shall focus on how poetic technique creates meaning. In the process we shall illuminate the art of poetry and begin to understand how it is that poets speak to us across cultures and centuries.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Demonstrate understanding of the distinctive characteristics of O’Hara’s highly original poetics.
Identify how the poet’s times and circumstances affected – and expressed themselves through – his work.
Appreciate the continuing relevance and importance of O’Hara’s achievement.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No particular prior knowledge will be assumed, but you will need to feel enthusiastic about the prospect of reading and discussing O’Hara’s writing. You will interested in listening to – and learning from – the responses of other students to the work discussed.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Teacher explanation; group discussion.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will be provided with photocopies of the all the poems to be studied. Please bring a pen and paper.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other poetry courses under History, Culture and Writing at

Tutor Biographies
Peter Brennan

Peter Brennan is a poet, and was for many years Head of English at The Latymer School, Edmonton. He founded Visionary Company courses in 2005, and is Editor-in-Chief of Perdika Press.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HLT77

Sat, day, 28 Mar - 28 Mar '20

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £47.00
Concession: £26.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.