31 pages 1 hour read

Frank O'Hara

Ave Maria

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1964

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Writing Prompts

1. “Ave Maria” relies on its unique use of line breaks. Try rewriting the words of the poem with your own line breaks and see how changing the form affects the meaning and tone of the poem. Discuss why you chose to break up lines in these places and evaluate the consequent changes to meaning and tone; for example, is the poem more or less complex? What emotions or images are more or less pronounced? Refer to your own changed lines in your response.

2. List three ways life has improved for the LGBTQ+ community since Frank O’Hara’s time in the 1960s and three ways it has stayed the same. Consider and discuss the way the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community are presented in the context of the poem. What other elements in the poem convey both the idea of change and the idea of stagnation or inaction? Discuss your rationale with references to specific lines or phrases for support.