Writing poetry in lunchtime: Frank O’Hara

One way to find time to write poetry while working full-time, is to write in your lunch-hour.  Frank O’Hara did.  Even with a hangover.

Some of his poems begin by noting the time (his lunch hour seems to have been 12 to 1 pm) and then he simply says what he’s doing, eating, feeling and thinking.

His words are encouraging for anyone writing poetry and wondering if they are actually any good at this:

I wish I were staying in town and working on my poems
at Joan’s studio for a new book by Grove Press
which they will probably not print
but it is good to be several floors up in the dead of night
wondering whether you are any good or not
and the only decision you can make is that you did it

(this from the poem: “Adieu to Norman, Bon Jour to Joan and Jean-Paul.  Incidentally, the poem begins: “It is 12.10 in New York and I am wondering…”)

Read the full poem on the Poetry Foundation website here. 

And, if you want to have a sense of New York in the ’50s – try reading the entire book “Lunch Poems” by Frank O’Hara.

Creative Takeaway

Read previous blog post to find NINE possible ways to practice writing, based on Frank’s modern approach. 


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