The Day Lady Died Analysis

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Frank O 'Hara 's "The Day Lady Died" is an elegy centering around the day of O 'Hara, leading up to his discovery of the death of singer Billie Holiday. This poem is unlike most in that it lacks figurative language throughout. O’Hara’s poem uses what seems almost like a bulletin, with every one of his actions being listed. He includes every detail of his day from the time he completed an action up to the people he interacted with along the way. On the surface, all of these things seem to be unrelated to the death of Holiday seeing as that her death itself is not mentioned until the last stanza of the poem. However, O’Hara is in fact using these details as a way to subliminally express the impact of her death. “The Day Lady Died”, like Frank O’Hara’s other poems, is packed with details and imagery. In the poem, Frank O’Hara gives us a run through of his daily errands. He describes the scene around him using descriptive words like “the muggy street” and is very keen on including time in his details in the first stanza as he mentions, “It is 12:20 in New York a Friday three days after Bastille day, yes it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner”. He does this to give us the readers the full experience of his day in his shoes. It also …show more content…
It includes a setting, characters and a climax. All of the details O’Hara provides in the poem are used to give its readers insight into his busy and consistent life while also revealing his personal outlooks. The turning point of the poem, O’Hara’s encounter with the news of Billie Holiday’s death, was preceded by such calm diction that it came off as much more dramatic in comparison. Frank O’Hara’s unique structure, while very unconventional, proved very effective in this poem as we the readers, for a moment, were able to experience the disbelief and sorrow he felt in that

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