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The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization$
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Jasper Bernes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796415

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796415.001.0001

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Lyric and the Service Sector

Lyric and the Service Sector

Frank O’Hara at Work

(p.37) 1 Lyric and the Service Sector
The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization

Jasper Bernes

Stanford University Press

O’Hara’s “I do this, I do that” poems detail the poet’s movements through the city during periods of leisure. In this chapter, Bernes argues that such leisure periods are usually, implicitly or explicitly, circumscribed by periods of work. This is especially true in Lunch Poems, where the conceit of the book is that many of the poems were written during his “lunch hour.” O’Hara’s lunch-hour pastorals are not so much opposed to the workday and its unfree time of getting things done as they are a space for an alternative kind of work. This chapter proposes that we see O’Hara as poet of service work as much as poet of consumption, reorienting ourselves to the presence of labor (his own and others’) within the poems. In particular, Bernes argues, O’Hara adapts the resources of the lyric poem to the transactional space of service work.

Keywords:   Frank O’Hara, service work, lyric theory, lyric address, exclamation, Mad Men, cultural cold war, curatorial work

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