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Autobiographia Literaria by Frank O’Hara

MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM

1.
Listen: haven’t you always been alone, and haven’t you always been okay with that? Because it is what it is: people are together alone, or are they alone together?

2.
But listen: poetry offers you a space to be, and a space to be here, and maybe right now that’s what matters.

3.
Listen: these poems are where everything started—the creation of your languaged self! And how astonishing. How right. How true.

Autobiographia Literaria
Frank O’Hara

When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out “I am
an orphan.”

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!
Imagine!

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This poem appeared in The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara, edited by Donald Allen, published by Vintage Books, 1974. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Frank O’HaraFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

Explore poems in pursuit of: transformationwoundsawe • Or browse the index

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Autobiographia Literaria by Frank O'Hara

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