Ballet, Basketball, and the Erotics of New York School Collaboration

  • Terence Diggory
Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)


Collaboration by New York School poets poses a special critical challenge because the practice invites theorizing, but the poets notoriously reject theorizing. “You just go on your nerve,” Frank O’Hara’s famous declaration in his mock manifesto, “Personism” (1959; O’Hara, Collected Poems 498), is just one of many examples of this rejection. In a discussion of collaborations by the artist George Schneeman with poets of the “second generation” New York School (Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, et al.), Carter Ratcliff concedes an affinity with Michel Foucault’s critique of the “author-function,” but then he draws a crucial distinction: “Schneeman and his poet-friends felt hemmed in by the same traditions that upset Foucault. But, feeling no need to score theoretical points, they simply left such obstacles behind as they moved out into the open spaces where the new is possible” (25).


Sexual Attraction Basketball Player Sexual Ambivalence Basketball Game Basketball Court 
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© Mark Silverberg 2013

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  • Terence Diggory

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