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研究生(外文):Kevin Huang-yu Chen
論文名稱(外文):"Anxious Pleasures and Pleasurable Anxiety": Frank O''Hara''s Love Poems to Vincent Warren
指導教授(外文):Raphael SchulteFrank Stevenson
外文關鍵詞:1950s - 1960sHomosexualitylove poetrythe esotericcampthe ephemeralcarpe diemthe erotic
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Between 1959 and 1961, Frank O''Hara wrote a sequence of love poems to Vincent Warren. When O''Hara was in love with Warren, his love poems were hemmed around by anxieties: anxiety about the oppression of homosexuality, anxiety about the lapse of the fleeting moments, and anxiety about the end of the relationship. Revolving around three interconnecting topics─the esoteric, ephemeral and erotic─in O''Hara''s love poems, this thesis investigates these three detailed elements as a way of re-creating and re-conceptualizing a model of O''Hara''s gay life in mid-twentieth-century America. This thesis discusses, at a time when gay men were marginalized and treated as sexual perverts by the homophobic society, how and why O''Hara reveals his love to Vincent Warren in an esoteric way, how O''Hara re-creates the fleeting moments of love, happiness and sex and transforms the motif of "Seize the day!" into "seizing the day" in his gay carpe diem poetry, and finally focuses on the erotic moment and sees how O''Hara uses sexuality to transcend to another world.
Introduction presents the background of O''Hara''s love poems to Vincent Warren, historicizing the homosexual oppression in the 1950s and 1960s. Living at a time of inescapable anxiety, O''Hara senses the hostility against homosexuality and depicts the pain of gay men''s wearing the masks in New York in "Homosexuality," in which his 1954 love manifesto that "I want to be wanted more than anything else in the world" not only voices his pain of being gay in search of a lover but also pre-dates his relationship with Warren between 1959 and 1961 (Collected Poems 182).
Chapter One discusses why and how O''Hara expresses his love to Vincent Warren in a secret way. When facing a homophobic society and culture, O''Hara does not choose to daringly confront the public; instead, he manages to survive in that homophobic society. In order to survive, O''Hara is aware that he needs to be careful and hide his love. Thus, in almost all of O''Hara''s love poems to Vincent Warren, the poet uses an esoteric language of camp to reveal his intense feelings to Vincent Warren and conceal the homosexual content from the heterosexual majority as we can see in "Having a Coke with You," "Poem V (F) W," and "St. Paul and All That."
Chapter Two demonstrates how O''Hara deals with the fleeting moments of love and happiness and transforms the traditional carpe diem motif in his love poems to Vincent Warren. Facing polymorphous oppression in real life, O''Hara writes gay carpe diem poetry to stand against the flow of time; in a way, O''Hara is enacting the carpe diem spirit in the love poems. I use traditional carpe diem poetry as examples of antithesis to O''Hara''s gay carpe diem poetry. Instead of saying, "Let’s seize the day," O''Hara is already celebrating the immediate present as we can see in "Personal Poem," "Steps," and "Sudden Snow."
Chapter Three extracts the erotic moment from the ephemeral moments of pleasures. I use Whitman''s Section 11 of "Song of Myself" as an example of antithesis to O''Hara''s erotic poems and demonstrate that while Whitman celebrates the male body and sexuality in part to fulfill his erotic imagination, O''Hara uses the body as a sexual diving board to jump to a spiritual world. I argue that O''Hara attempts to capture and re-create the erotic moment of his jumping to the spiritual world and the subsequent falling back to the earth in the erotic love poems to Vincent Warren as we can see in "Poem [Twin spheres full of fur and noise]," "Poem ''À la recherché d'' Gertrude Stein,''" "You Are Gorgeous and I''m Coming," and "To You."
Conclusion summarizes the previous discussion and examines the three elements again in the final break-up poem; indeed, "Poem [lost lost]," a poem written after the end of the relationship, is less esoteric, less ephemeral and less erotic. After the relationship ends, O''Hara, though free from certain anxieties, suffers from an immense sense of loss; his love poems lack the nourishment of love. O''Hara no longer feels the "anxious pleasures and pleasurable anxiety" when the relationship comes to an end (Collected Poems 406).
Chinese Abstract--------------------------------------i
English Abstract--------------------------------------ii
Chapter One: Esoteric---------------------------------22
Chapter Two: Ephemeral--------------------------------60
Chapter Three: Erotic---------------------------------100
Works Cited-------------------------------------------146
A. The Vincent Warren Poems (In Chronological Order)--153
B. Vincent Warren''s E-mails to the Author-------------160
C. Portraits of Vincent Warren------------------------166
(By permission of Vincent Warren)
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