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Word Count: 358
In his poem The Day Lady Died Frank OHara refrains from using all the conventional patterns of elegiac poetry Instead of the common reflection of grief utilizing tragic laments and a recount of greatness now gone OHaras seemingly ordinary poem very subtly evokes a sense of loss At first OHaras poem appears to be the account of a very typical day His classic I do this and I do that style accompanied by the simplistic description of his trivial daily contribute to the sense of He gets a shoeshine and later a hamburger He goes to the bank and buys a gift for a friend The little discrepancies in his routine give light to the fact that it is no ordinary day Miss Stillwagons unprecedented behavior in the bank and the fact that he does not know who will feed him are both noteworthy in that they are odd occurences In the universal order something is amiss By mentioning the unique qualities of the day OHara very subtly draws the readers attention to the most notable event of the day He does not even mention the deceased until the 25th line and he never states her name except for the clever reversal of her nickname in the title Billie Holiday or Lady Day as she was called is one of those luminous characters in history whose name alone evokes greatness She is the embodiment of the bittersweet American success story Rising to stardom after an impoverished Southern childhood she was plagued by both drug addiction and the slow loss of her famed voice She was prohibited from singing in bars after she being arrested for heroin use Holiday affected OHara with his keen fascination with all things distinctly American deeply OHara consorted with all the poets dramatists and artists of the time His friend Kenneth Koch organized nights of
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