Poetry. The fifty-two lyrics that make up William Heyen's STRAIGHT'S SUITE are at once a nod to the progenitor of American poetry of sexuality and the body, Walt Whitman, and a communication addressed to the late Frank O'Hara, famed member of the New York School of poets in the 1950s and 1960s. O'Hara had described a poetry that "address[es] itself to one person (other than the poet himself), thus evoking overtones of love without destroying love's life-giving vulgarity." In this suite, we often find Heyen addressing his lines to O'Hara, drawing on memory and hearsay to probe the intersection between O'Hara's sexuality and his aesthetic. Heyen asks O'Hara how "I might get my poem to be its subject, / not just be about it," which in some ways is the project of all art.
William Heyen is Professor of English/Poet in Residence Emeritus at the College at Brockport, his undergraduate alma mater. He received his PhD from Ohio University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from SUNY. A former Senior Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature in Germany, he has received NEA, Guggenheim, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and other awards. His work has appeared in hundreds of anthologies, and in The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Harper's, The Atlantic, The Southern Review, and numerous other magazines. His journals—five volumes published so far—may be the most extensive in American literature. Most of his Holocaust poems are collected in The Candle (2016). He is the author of WHETHER ART EILL EVER (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2021), Nature: Selected & New Poems 1970-2020, STRAIGHT'S SUITE FOR CRAIG COTTER & FRANK O'HARA (Mayapple Press, 2012), THE ANGERL VOICES: A POEM (Mayapple Press, 2010), and HOME: AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, ETC. (MAMMOTH books, 2005).Author City: BROCKPORT, NY USA