The Day Lady Died By Frank O ' Hara Essay

The Day Lady Died By Frank O ' Hara Essay

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The Day Lady Died
As one first reads Frank O 'Hara 's poem "The Day Lady Died," it may seem like a short and straightforward poem that does have much meaning to it. When the poem begins, a man is simply going about his day and performing basic everyday actions. The poem becomes slightly more out of the ordinary towards the second half of the poem, but it is quite hard to interpret what is occurring. However, as one begins to pick up on context clues and perhaps research certain parts of the poem, their view on the poem may change and they may discover aspects that they did not at first pick up on. "The Day Lady Died" is a meaningful poem where Frank O 'Hara discusses the infamous day that his beloved idol Billie Holiday passed away.
Billie Holiday was a famous American jazz musician and singer that passed away from liver disease at the age of 44. At the beginning of the poem, it says it is currently "three days after Bastille day" (O 'Hara 2). Bastille day is July 14th, which means this poem is occurring on July 17th. In the third line, O 'Hara says it is 1959. July 17, 1959 is the day that Billie Holiday passed away. Have you ever had someone ask if you remember exactly what you were doing when a catastrophic event, such as September 11th, happened? "The Day Lady Died" is a summary of exactly what Frank O 'Hara was doing when he discovered the news of Holiday 's death. He tells of this day and provides details of how he remembers it. He makes a reference to the time of day when he says "it is 12:20" (O 'Hara 1). O 'Hara happened to be in New York at that time, and came across a newspaper where the news of Holiday 's death was spread across the front page. O 'Hara had attended many of her performances and was quite...


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...sad or mournful. Throughout the poem, Frank O 'Hara makes several references about not having enough time or being in a rush. For example, he says, "I don 't know the people who will feed me," (O 'Hara 6). However, since it is during his lunch hour, it seems that food should be a priority.
Although Frank O 'Hara 's poem "The Day Lady Died" may seem bland and pointless at first, it is actually rather meaningful and deep. O 'Hara is describing in great detail the day he remembers Billie Holiday passing away. The poem does not have a usual structure or rhyme scheme, but it is considered an elegy because it is discussing someone who has passed away. "The Day Lady Died" is an excellent representation of what O 'Hara was experiencing on the day Holiday passed away, and it influences readers to remember Billie Holiday and the great impact she had on American jazz music.

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