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PRINT February 2009

EDITOR’S LETTER

IN PERSON

Frank O’Hara in his home, New York, 1965. Photo: Mario Schifano. Courtesy the Estate of Joe LeSueur.

INEVITABLY, THE IMAGE THAT ADORNS the cover of this month’s issue will elicit from readers a searching double take: The amber vastness and big sky of the American West are immediately recognizable, with the panoramic terrain’s sun-scorched sand, silt, and shale having provided a stage for epic characters in cinema for nearly a century. And yet the protagonist here is playing his leading role in this romantic fantasy all wrong, having eschewed the commanding poses of so many outlaws and cattlemen for a quietly distracted (if not befuddled) look backward from his horse—or pony, as it happens. In fact, this lonesome rider, a bit too large for his diminutive steed and outfitted in fuzzy mohair sweater and slacks instead of chaps and Stetson, seems utterly foreign to the landscape, conjuring less the stuff of myth than of tourism—and the experience, one surmises, isn’t quite

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