Autobiographia Literaria (after Frank O’Hara)

By William Eaton (O’Hara text below)


Van Gogh (Self-Portrait) & Ingres (Portrait de monsieur Bertin), versions with ink pen by William Eaton, Nov 2018


When I was a child

There was an old tree

where my sisters and I played –



There was not much else around –

an old barn, grass and sheep.

Further along,

our strip of beach.


I remember my mother

and a sister squaring off.

Eight years old, she told

mom to get lost.


And so here I am, in

Central Square, Cambridge,

having fun with Frank O’Hara.



Autobiographia Literaria

By Frank O’Hara

When I was a child

I played by myself in a

corner of the schoolyard

all alone.


I hated dolls and I

hated games, animals were

not friendly and birds

flew away.


If anyone was looking

for me I hid behind a

tree and cried out “I am

an orphan.”


And here I am, the

center of all beauty!

writing these poems!



The two ink drawings are also by William Eaton, working from a Van Gogh self-portrait and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s Portrait de monsieur Bertin. Other Montaigbahktinian posts under the influence of Frank O’Hara: This is my poem for Terminal B (yet more influenced by Langston Hughes) and Lunch Poem (with such apologies as may be due to Frank O’Hara and “The Day Lady Died”).

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