Rilo Kiley’s “More Adventurous” and Frank O’Hara

This is not exactly new news, but I just found out about another instance of Frank O’Hara’s work finding its way into the world of indie rock music (for another such instance, see this post on Thurston Moore’s “Frank O’Hara Hit”).  Thanks to one of my graduate students, the poet Nick Sturm, I just learned that a 2004 song by the indie-pop band Rilo Kiley called “More Adventurous” refers to a line from Frank O’Hara’s “Meditations in an Emergency.”

Near the start of the song, singer Jenny Lewis remembers that “I read with every broken heart / We should become more adventurous.”  Where did she read such a thing?  In the second paragraph of O’Hara’s prose poem, of course!  The part where he writes “Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous.”

The band must’ve liked the line a good deal, since they used the O’Hara phrase as the title for the album on which the song appears: More Adventurous.

Another surprising conjunction is that a couple days ago, I noted that Don DeLillo also recently used a phrase from the same O’Hara poem as the title for his story “Midnight in Dostoevsky” — which means, strangely enough, that Don DeLillo and Rilo Kiley have both turned to the same place, the same O’Hara poem, for inspiration.

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