The Business Building Lounge was filled with laughter on Thursday, March 29 around lunchtime as English Professor Catie Rosemurgy gave a close reading of Frank O’Hara’s poem, “Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)” for students, faculty and guests.
“We’re used to reading poems with metaphoric meaning,” Rosemurgy said. “This poem prohibits us from doing that.”
O’Hara, who lived from 1926 to 1966, was a poet well-known for his original works that touched upon the average day-to-day life.
Lana Turner, the poem’s subject, was a famous actress in the 1940s and ’50s who became a tabloid regular — Lindsay Lohan is a present-day Turner.
During the event, a small lunch was served followed by a moment of silence for Adrienne Rich — a respected feminist poet who passed away the day before. She was known for using poetry to bring to light the oppression of women and lesbians for the past half century, according to The New York Times.
As the reading began, it became apparent that this reading was not going to be like any other.
Immediately after Rosemurgy read the first line of O’Hara’s poem, laughter erupted in the room.
As it turned out, it wouldn’t be the last time laughter would occur.
Risemurgy admitted to only analyzing the first line out of the entire poem due to its originality as the first line in poetry.
“It’s an affectionate mockery of poetry,” Rosemurgy said. “(We) say to ourselves, ‘What is this poem doing?'”
O’Hara’s poem left great impressions on the audience.
“It gave me a fresh perspective (on poetry),” Janki Dave, junior English major, said of her first close reading. “I walked out with a new mindset.”