Mad Men and the now “much less obscure poet” Frank O’Hara

 

In the New York Times today, there is a piece about the long-awaited return of the television show Mad Men this evening, and how much has changed in the years since it first aired:

“Seven years on, much has changed for everyone and everything involved with the show — even some of the products woven into it. As the series returns on Sunday for the first half of its final season — the second half arrives next year — we look at that altered landscape.”

Apparently one such “product” woven into the show — alongside Canadian Club Whisky and Lucky Strike cigarettes — is the poet Frank O’Hara, whose work had a memorable cameo role in Mad Men‘s second season.  (I wrote about the boom, or boomlet perhaps, in O’Hara-related television here).

Here’s how the article puts it, in listicle form:

“Frank O’Hara

THEN Relatively obscure poet of the New York School.

NOW Much less obscure poet of the New York School, at least when it comes to book sales. After Don read aloud from “Meditations in an Emergency” during the opening episode of the second season, annual sales have jumped more than tenfold. In 2007, 197 copies were sold, according to Nielsen BookScan; the next year, the tally rose to 2,028 and has not dipped below 1,971 since.”

Thanks to Mad Men, O’Hara has been rescued from relative obscurity and sales are booming for whisky, Lucky Strikes, and Meditations in an Emergency.  And — at least according to what one finds on Twitter and elsewhere around the web — these lines (recited on Mad Men and seemingly related to the plight of Don Draper) have become some of O’Hara’s most enduring — or at least most, um, re-tweeted:

Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

 

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