Ron Silliman on the death of O'Hara

from Ron Silliman's blog:

I'd paid no attention to the work of Frank O'Hara until I saw the mesmerizing television show on him in Richard Moore's Poetry USA series on PBS, a blur of constant motion - O'Hara on the phone & typewriter simultaneously while managing to keep up a conversation with the camera, drink & smoke, he was the ultimate multitasker decades before that term came into use - until, in the show’s closing credits as I recall (I haven't actually seen the whole thing in 37 years), the voiceover mentions that O'Hara has recently died. I remember at the time sitting in front of the little black-&-white TV completely stunned, as if I’d seen a wonderful door open, only to have it slammed shut in the last 10 seconds of the show.

O'Hara's death, not unlike that of Jack Spicer a year earlier, marked a critical moment in the history of the New American poetry. Both poets had been the central social organizers of distinctly geographic literary communities, and their passing transformed each town. Almost overnight, or so it seemed at a distance, the New York scene shifted its focus away from this group of largely gay men born in the 1920s - Ashbery was in Europe, Schuyler too much the recluse – and onto younger (& straighter) acolytes. The role Ted Berrigan would soon take in the environs around Gem Spa hardly seems conceivable in a world in which Frank O'Hara attends a party whose primary memorable feature is a lascivious tale told by W.H. Auden’s partner.