it's the little things
"(...he called writing 'playing the typewriter.')"
"(in the words of a home-town friend) the spot to 'lie down on a chaise longue, get mellow with a few drinks, and listen to Marlene Dietrich records.'"
and, of course,
"glistening torsos sandwiches"
Of these four, the first is Chiasson quoting a letter written by O'Hara, the second is Chiasson quoting O'Hara's "home-town friend," and then, the third is an actual O'Hara poem.
But it all sounds pretty darn good to me.
I absolutely loved this bit of analysis, from Chiasson:
"When O'Hara includes, in his poems, urine and sequins, aspirins and Strega, it's not because he's addicted to reality - on the contrary, he is addicted to artistic transformation, and is distressed by the fact that bits of the world haven't been subjected to mimesis, and preserved by it."
I loved O'Hara at the movies and living in apartments.
But maybe Chiasson is addicted to sandwiches. He mentions the sandwich image on at least 3 separate occasions. That's a little annoying. And the bit I liked, above, about the chaises, well, actually, it is part of a sentence that is way too long and contains too much information. The sentence about the chaises also mentions, in passing, that (1) post-WWII Harvard "overflow freshmen slept on cots in the gym" and (2) Edward Gorey was O'Hara's college roommate!! Chiasson also relies too heavily on parentheses.
NYT also has a review of the Selected Poems.
And I found James Wood's review of Rivka Galchen's Atmospheric Disturbances (June 23) really compelling. Like, I felt compelled to find and read the book. And that never happens. I was dizzy by the end of her short story, "Region of Unlikeness" so I think I'll be fairly swooning by the end of the novel.