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Frank O’Hara
David Herd

, ‘had gone out of our lives’ (H, 43). At O’Hara’s funeral Larry Rivers told the congregation, ‘Frank O’Hara was my best friend. There are at least sixty people in New York who thought Frank O’Hara was their best friend’ (H, 138). To gauge the significance of this, in In Memory of my Feelings: Frank O’Hara and American Art, Russell Ferguson passes on the received wisdom that the New York avant-garde of the 1950s and early 1960s consisted of no more than 300 people. The premature death of any significant artist is always mythologized, as the composer Morton Feldman

in Enthusiast!
Open Access (free)
A short essay on enthusia
David Herd

of enthusiasm takes seriously the fact that any given book once didn’t, but more to the point might have never come to, exist, that literary culture depends for its existence and perpetuation largely on the time and energy of its enthusiasts. The composer Morton Feldman said, with regard to creativity, that what’s important is, ‘to have someone like Frank [O’Hara] standing behind you. That’s what keeps you going.’41 Hemingway recalled, ‘Pound the major poet devoting, say, one fifth of his time to poetry. With the rest he tried to advance the fortunes, both material

in Enthusiast!