Excerpt of interview of Frank O'Hara by Edward Lucie-Smith at the former's loft on Broadway in
October, 1965. (Full interview included in O'Hara's Standing Still and Walking in New York,
Grey Fox, Bolinas, California, 1974.)
Edward Lucie-Smith: Well, what do you see coming up in
American poetry first of all?
Frank O’Hara: In American poetry?
O’H: Well, there are a number of interesting things. For
instance there’s a poet named Tony Towle who has this marvelous diction which
is out of Wallace Stevens, I think, but just as I said — you know — that say John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch and I, I think, were
quite influenced by abstract expressionism’s powers and personality, Tony Towle
seems to be quite influenced by the ideas around Andy Warhol; with this beauty
of diction coming from Wallace Stevens, which is really quite an alarming and
interesting style to get to know.
Towle’s poems are beautiful . . . not because they form
decorous displays, but because they are alive with intelligence, urbanity, and
multiple voices and views, alive the way the real world is alive anytime we are
brave or naive enough to open up and let it be as astonishing as it is. . . .
The reader owes a debt of gratitude to the young author: he does not allow us
to distinguish between the real and the imagined.
— Ron Padgett, from "A Note on the Early Poems of Tony Towle"
The History of the Invitation