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O'Hara's earliest poems exhibit much of the promise and brilliance later fulfilled. Despite the somewhat casual method of composition he later became celebrated for and the colloquial air or ease of those poems themselves, O'Hara was from the start a skilled and knowledgeable poet, well aware, if not always respectful, of the long tradition of the craft. Brad Gooch's biography, City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara (1993), makes it possible to trace the biographical, cultural, and literary information in the poems. The poems at times can be correctly read as intense personal statements, not just sleight-of-hand performances. A survey of his Early Writing (1977), written between 1946 and 1950 while O'Hara was still a student at Harvard, reveals a striking diversity of forms that includes ballads, songs, a blues (so-called), a madrigal, musical exercises such as a gavotte, a dirge (complete with strophe, antistrophe, and epode), and even more exotic forms such as the French triolet. There are also an imitation of (with a touch of ) titled "A Procession for Peacocks"; a strict sonnet; a litany; poems in quatrains; couplets, and heroic couplets; poems with faithful rhyme patterns; and various prose poems. O'Hara's most persistent interest, however, was the image, in all its suddenness, juxtaposed with an equally unlikely image, following techniques not of Imagism but those perfected by the French Surrealists. This period of experimentation and learning (although the imitations and parodies continued) advanced into an interest in post-Symbolist French poetry, especially that of and later , along with the big-voiced, roaring surrealism of Vladimir Mayakovski. At the same time O'Hara's innate Americanness was encouraged by writers such as and Marianne Moore, together with the colloquial , whom he felt to be an "American" poet in "his use of the vernacular." O'Hara was alert to all developments in his chosen art. Between 1952 and 1958 he either attended or participated in discussions of the new poetry and the new painting at the Abstract-Expressionist meeting place in New York called The Club. His essay,"Nature and New Painting," indicating a surprisingly early familiarity with 's "Projective Verse" essay (1950) before it became widely known later in the decade, was the subject of three panel discussions in January and February of 1955."