December 4, 2012

Clips from Richard Moore’s “USA: Poetry”


Hello, Frank O’Hara …

Last weekend, Ron Silliman directed readers of his blog to the below clip of Frank O’Hara, which was included in “USA: Poetry,” a 12-part television program from 1966 produced by Richard Moore, himself a poet with ties to the San Francisco Renaissance. Moore was also a filmmaker, journalist, and one of the founders of KPFA, the first listener-supported public radio station in the United States.

The O’Hara clip was filmed weeks before his death in an automobile accident on Fire Island, NY, and features readings of “Having a Coke with You” and “The Day Lady Died,” among others. Silliman calls this “Very possibly the best poetry video ever made.”


“USA: Poetry” also features interviews with Anne Sexton and Michael McClure. Here is Sexton yelling at a dog, smoking cigarettes, giving motherly advice and reading “Menstruation at 40” and “Wanting to Die.”

(sorry, but you have to click the image to watch this one)


Last but not least, and certainly not one to be outdone by a barking dog, here is Michael McClure, jamming out with a tambourine, discussing peyote use, and reading his poems to caged lions.

Man, the 60s were terrifying …

Kevin Murphy is the digital media marketing manager of Melville House.