The Favorite Poets of Pop Culture Characters

We’re suckers for a great cameo — as our review of last night’s celeb-heavy episode of Saturday Night Live proves — but our favorite surprise appearance belongs to literature. You may have noticed that we’re on a bit of a poetry kick lately, exploring beautiful verses about books, the favorite love poems of great poets, and more. To those who say poetry is dead, we offer ten pop culture characters and the poets they turned to for inspiration — which revealed the internal dialogue running rampant through their minds.

Don Draper reads Frank O’Hara in Mad Men

“Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.”

The passage everyone’s favorite ad man Don Draper reads from Frank O’Hara’s Meditations in an Emergency during the season two finale, “Mayakovsky,” encapsulates his eternal struggle. Don is pulled between the mythic figure he desires to be — the one his co-workers revere — and the square suit he usually is. When his vitality and relevancy is subtly challenged by a stranger, Don turns to the book the young man was reading. O’Hara’s words speak to Don’s emotional disconnect, contradictory nature, and identity crisis as much as they define the uncertain transitions of his era. “Perhaps I am myself again,” the poem concludes as Don habitually starts his life over. He mails the book to a mysterious recipient who we later find out is the only person that has any real insight to his true character. We revisit the same book during a later episode when Don’s life is in a shambles again — proof he predicted his own relapse.