[O'hara was] A gay man, he was an accomplished and well-known poet and published a number of well-received volumes before his untimely death at age forty. He worked as an assistant curator in the Museum of Modern Art and was close to a number of the most important painters of that time, including Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, and Joan Mitchell. These biographical details do not much connote the life of the Madison Avenue lifestyle of Don Draper.
However, there is in O’Hara’s poetry a crisis of identity and identification that very much evokes Don’s life. “To the Harbormaster,” the first poem in Meditations in an Emergency, begins,
I wanted to be sure to reach you
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings.
I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart.