Frank O’Hara’s poem “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island” has had a remarkable and robust afterlife, as I’ve noted before in reference to Kent Johnson’s controversial A Question Mark Above the Sun.
Now the poem will be taken up once again, this time by an arts group called The Arts Fusion Initiative, which describes itself as “a group of New York based artists. Within this initiative, each year’s project will have one poem that inspires the fusion of different art forms culminating in an innovative, live performance.”
The group’s 2014 project is called Into the Sun. It “will combine multiple art forms with the text of A True Account of Talking to the Sun on Fire Island by American poet, Frank O’Hara.”
Into the Sun will be performed this upcoming week during a tour through Kansas, with stops in Garden City (9/2), Lawrence (9/4), and Kansas City (9/6). The group “will be doing school workshops, concerts, and different events within the larger communities.”
One of the young composers who wrote music for the piece, Gabriel Medina, had some interesting things to say in an interview on High Plains Public Radio about the use of this particular O’Hara poem :
“As a composer, I’m most interested by collaborative projects. When Kristen explained her idea for the American Fusion Project to me, I was intrigued by her desire to combine multiple artistic disciplines into a common programmatic theme.
The theme – Creativity and Artistic Inspiration – is especially important to me as a young artist. I often struggle with artistic merit. Does what I write fit into the mold of contemporary aesthetic ideals? What will my colleagues think of the piece I’m writing? Is the piece really me? These are questions that face every young artist, and they are all addressed so sincerely in Frank O’Hara’s poem ‘A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island.’ For a long time now, I’ve taken comfort in this poem during periods of self-doubt. As such, this project is what I consider a personal tribute to this poem.”
More information can be found here. I’d love to hear more about the performance if anyone sees it or knows more about it.