“Having a Coke with You” is a poem written by Frank O Hara. O Hara grew up in Massachusetts in the United States. O Hara began his career in poetry while majoring in music at Harvard. Ultimately, O Hara changed his major and left Harvard with a degree in English. In the fall of 1951, O Hara moved to Manhattan where he worked at the Museum of Modern Art. This experience would contribute to O Hara’s use of paintings throughout all of his poems. This experience is also visible in O Hara’s references to paintings like the “Polish Rider” and the “Nude Descending a Staircase” (Knopf). The theme of the poem, “Having a Coke with You”, is the beauty of love. O’ Hara’s main point is that sharing the simplest thing with a person you love is better than the most incredible art in the world or the most beautiful place in the world. The poetic devices that help to contribute to this theme are diction, visual imagery, and the use of allusions.
The most important device that contributes to the poem’s theme is diction or the choice of words by the poet. An example of diction that helps make the poem memorable is O Hara’s use of place names such as “San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne”. The places that O Hara mentions in the opening line of this poem are towns in Spain and France which were known for hosting rich travelers. These famous names establish the point that O Hara would prefer to drink a coke with the one he loves, rather than be by himself in the most beautiful towns. His point is that beauty does not lie in exotic experiences such as being sick in Barcelona but in walking through a park in New York with his love.
The effect of diction on the reader is that it emphasizes the contrast between simple everyday things like having a coke and unusual things like the names of faraway places. This underscores the point that the simplest thing in a person you love is better than travelling across the world to be in the most scenic cities, that the real...
Cited: "Frank O 'Hara." - Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
"Mapping the Marvellous." Mapping the Marvellous. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
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