The poems of Objectivist Charles Reznikoff and the New York School’s Frank O’Hara insist that marginalized experiences—both their own and others’—belong in America’s public spaces and discourse. Reznikoff records New York’s streets as the Jewish child of immigrants in collections including Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down (1941), while O’Hara records these streets from a queer experience in his famous “I do this, I do that” poems. There is limited scholarship connecting these poets, however, because the categorization of Objectivists as second-wave Imagists—and the resulting erasure of their Jewish heritage—has inhibited their inclusion in postmodern discourse. Repositioning Objectivists as postmodern forerunners reveals what’s concealed when poets are separated too insistently into different avant-garde “schools.” This article argues that the Judaism of Objectivist writers is a liminal lens through which to explore the New York School’s queerness and vice versa. This comparative examination of the walking poems of Reznikoff and O’Hara constructs new avenues for exploring the urban poetics of outsiders in experimental poetry by reading across and not just through minority experiences.

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