'it was love for you that set me afire': a celebration of the poetry of Frank O'Hara

In honour of Frank O’Hara, that most collaborative and collegial of American poets, the Birmingham and Midland Institute hosted to a celebratory event on Wednesday 3 May 2017.

Readings of the poetry of Frank O'Hara at the BMI in May 2017

Organised by Dr Rona Cran, in collaboration with the B&MI, the Centre for Contemporary Literature and Culture, the Birmingham Conservatoire, University College London, and a wide range of willing participants who each read a poem aloud, the evening was designed to evoke and pay tribute to O’Hara’s warmth as a person and depth as a poet.

Matthew Holman, from UCL, delivered an insightful overview of O’Hara’s Meditations in an Emergency. The collection was then read aloud, each poem in its entirety by a different audience member, all of whom embraced the spontaneity that such reading requires.

And as the poetry distilled, two students from the Birmingham Conservatoire performed a stunning recital of Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata in G Minor. O’Hara loved Rachmaninov, and was a pianist himself – so this was a wonderful end to the evening. Thank you to all involved.