Mediations on Emergent Occasions: Mad Men, Donald Draper and Frank O’Hara

Kate Lilley


Frank O’Hara’s 1957 poetry collection, Meditations in an Emergency, features in Season Two of Mad Men (2008) as a talismanic phrase and object. Pressed into service as Matthew Weiner’s valentine to his returning viewers, the circulation and citation of the book across the season, through different diegetic and extradiegetic levels, aligns poetry, advertising and quality serial television drama as textual modes intent, above all, on creating attachment through feeling. O’Hara’s book is a crucial link in a series of metonymic relays, chain effects and affects, which underwrite Mad Men’s citational poetics to assert its own cultural authority, and the mediating power of television.


poetry; mediation; Frank O'Hara; melancholy; passing

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