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Witty yet heartbreaking, conversational yet richly lyrical, John Ashbery's sixteenth poetry collection showcases a mastery uniquely his ownAnd the Stars Were Shining originally appeared in 1994, toward the midpoint of a startlingly creative period in Ashbery's long career, during which the great American poet published no fewer than nine books in ten years. The collection brings together more than fifty compact, jewellike, intensely felt poems, including the well-known "Like a Sentence" ("How little we know, / and when we know it!") and the lyrical, deeply moving thirteen-part title poem recognized as one of the author's greatest. This collection is Ashbery at his most accessible, graceful, and elegiac.
In Ashbery's 1987 collection, ballads, folklore, and fairy tales mesh with the anxieties and idioms of modern lifeFor a book by one of the leading avant-garde poets of modern literature, John Ashbery's April Galleons is suffused with voices from the past. There are echoes of the Romantics in the elegiac "A Mood of Quiet Beauty" and "Vetiver," allusions to ballads and folkloric epics in "Finnish Rhapsody" and "Forgotten Song," and veiled references to legends, folk songs, and fairy tales. But as always with Ashbery, the modern world is the microphone through which these past voices are made to speak, amplified and invigorated by Ashbery's signature wit and generosity of spirit. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the year in which it was first published, April Galleons is a must-read collection from a notable period in John Ashbery's long and lauded career.
Dating from one of the most studied creative periods of John Ashbery's career, a groundbreaking collection showcasing his signature polyphonic poem "Litany" First published in 1979, four years after Ashbery's masterpiece Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, the poems in As We Know represent the great American poet writing at the peak of his experimental powers. The book's flagship poem, the seventy-page "Litany," remains one of the most exciting and challenging of Ashbery's career. Presented in two facing columns, the poem asks to be read as independent but countervailing monologues, creating a dialogue of the private and the public, the human and the divine, the real and the unreal--a wild and beautiful conversation that contains multitudes. As We Know also collects some of Ashbery's most witty, self-reflexive interrogations of poetry itself, including "Late Echo" and "Five Pedantic Pieces" ("An idea I had and talked about / Became the things I do"), as well as a wry, laugh-out-loud call-and-response sequence of one-line poems on Ashbery's defining subject: the writing of poetry ("I Had Thought Things Were Going Along Well / But I was mistaken"). Perhaps the most admired poem in this much-discussed volume is "Tapestry," a measured exploration of the inevitable distance that arises between art, audience, and artist, which the critic Harold Bloom called "an 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' for our time." Built of doubles, of echoes, of dualities and combinations, As We Know is the breathtaking expression of a singular American voice.
A 1995 collection of poems that finds John Ashbery at his most conversational, funny, and surprisingIn Can You Hear, Bird, John Ashbery's seventeenth collection, language is both a plaything and a sandbox. The poems are arranged not in the order of their composition but alphabetically, by the first letter in their titles, like the neatly arrayed keys of some fabulous Seussical instrument. In line after line, Ashbery demonstrates his alertness to language as it is spoken, heard, broadcast, and dreamed--and sets himself the task of rewriting, redefining, and revising the American idiom we think we know so well. Can You Hear, Bird is a decisive example of the uniquely Ashberyan sensibility his many fans love, revealing a generous and acute chronicler of the everyday bizarre, an observant and humane humorist, and an ear trained on decoding our modern world's beguiling polyphony.
John Ashbery's restless, witty meditation on aging and the music of change: A must-read collection from America's greatest modern poetThe child's game Chinese Whispers, known in America as Telephone, is an exercise in transforming the recognizable into something beautifully strange. John Ashbery's twenty-fourth collection of poems, Chinese Whispers, re-creates in every line the accidentally transformative logic of the language game for which the book is named. In sixty-three charged and often very funny poems, Ashbery confronts the relentlessness of age and time while demonstrating, in his unmistakable, self-reflexive style, the process by which a single thought unravels, multiplies, distends, travels, and finally arrives, changed and unfamiliar. First published in 2002, shortly after Ashbery's seventy-fifth birthday, Chinese Whispers is a collection in which fairy tales, mysteries, and magic dollhouses interleave effortlessly with the everyday of pancakes and popular culture. Ashbery's language is absolutely recognizable from modern life as it is experienced, but at the same time is as dreamlike and disquieting as intercepted transmissions from another world.
One of Ashbery's most important masterworks: Widely studied, critically admired, and essential to understanding one of the modern era's most revolutionary poetsThe Double Dream of Spring, originally published in 1970, followed the critical success of John Ashbery's National Book Award-nominated collection Rivers and Mountains and introduced the signature voice--reflective, acute, and attuned to modern language as it is spoken--that just a few years later would carry Ashbery's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. Ashbery fans and lovers of modern poetry alike will recognize here some of the century's most anthologized and critically admired works of poetry, including "Soonest Mended," "Decoy," "Sunrise in Suburbia," "Evening in the Country," the achingly beautiful long poem "Fragment," and Ashbery's so-called Popeye poem, the mordant and witty "Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape." The Double Dream of Spring helped cement Ashbery's reputation as a must-read American poet, and no library of modern poetry is complete without it.
A quintessentially American epic poem that rewrites all the rules of epic poetry--starting with the one that says epic poetry can't be about the writing of epic poetry itselfThe appearance of Flow Chart in 1991 marked the kickoff of a remarkably prolific period in John Ashbery's long career, a decade during which he published seven all-new books of poetry as well as a collected series of lectures on poetic form and practice. So it comes as no surprise that this book-length poem--one of the longest ever written by an American poet--reads like a rocket launch: charged, propulsive, mesmerizing, a series of careful explosions that, together, create a radical forward motion. It's been said that Flow Chart was written in response to a dare of sorts: Artist and friend Trevor Winkfield suggested that Ashbery write a poem of exactly one hundred pages, a challenge that Ashbery took up with plans to complete the poem in one hundred days. But the celebrated work that ultimately emerged from its squared-off origin story was one that the poet himself called "a continuum, a diary." In six connected, constantly surprising movements of free verse--with the famous "sunflower" double sestina thrown in, just to reinforce the poem's own multivarious logic--Ashbery's poem maps a path through modern American consciousness with all its attendant noise, clamor, and signal: "Words, however, are not the culprit. They are at worst a placebo, / leading nowhere (though nowhere, it must be added, can sometimes be a cozy / place, preferable in many cases to somewhere)."
John Ashbery's wild, deliriously inventive book-length poem, inspired by the adventures of Henry Darger's Vivian GirlsHenry Darger, the prolific American outsider artist who died in 1973, leaving behind over twenty thousand pages of manuscripts and hundreds of artworks, is famous for the elaborate alternate universe he both constructed and inhabited, a "realm of the unreal" where a plucky band of young girls, the Vivians, helps lead an epic rebellion against dark forces of chaos. Darger's work is now renowned for its brilliant appropriation of cultural ephemera, its dense and otherworldly prose, and its utterly unique high-low juxtaposition of popular culture and the divine--some of the very same traits that decades of critics and readers have responded to in John Ashbery's many groundbreaking works of poetry. In Girls on the Run, Ashbery's unmatched poetic inventiveness travels to new territory, inspired by the characters and cataclysms of Darger's imagined universe. Girls on the Run is a disquieting, gorgeous, and often hilarious mash-up that finds two radical American artists engaged in an unlikely conversation, a dialogue of reinvention and strange beauty.
In John Ashbery's haunting 1992 collection, just as in the traveler's experience of a hotel, we recognize everything, and yet nothing is familiar--not even ourselvesHotel Lautréamont invites readers to reimagine a book of poems as a collection of hotel rooms: each one empty until we enter it, and yet in truth abundantly furnished with associations, necessities, and echoes of both the known and the alien. The collection's title poem is itself an evocative echo: Comte de Lautréamont was the pseudonym taken by Isidore-Lucien Ducasse, a radical nineteenth-century French writer about whom little is known except that he produced one remarkable presymbolist epic prose poem called The Songs of Maldoror and died of fever at the age of twenty-four in a hotel in Paris during Napoleon III's siege of the city in 1870. Addressed to lonely ghosts, lingering guests, and others, the poems in Hotel Lautréamont present a study of exile, loss, meaning, and the artistic constructions we create to house them.
Is poetry the act of putting something together, or the art of taking something apart? Houseboat Days, one of John Ashbery's most celebrated collections, offers its own answerRemarkable for its introspection and for the response it elicited when it was first published in 1977, Houseboat Days is Ashbery's much-discussed follow-up to his 1975 masterpiece Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, and remains one of his most studied books to date. Houseboat Days begins with the moving, unforgettable poem "Street Musicians," an allegory of artistic and personal loss that came ten years after the death of Ashbery's friend and fellow New York poet Frank O'Hara. But while many of the poems in Houseboat Days are strikingly personal, especially when compared to Ashbery's work from the 1950s and 1960s, the collection is less about the poet than about the act of writing poetry. In such widely anthologized poems as "Wet Casements," "Syringa," "And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name," and "What Is Poetry," Ashbery embraces the challenge of his own ars poetica, exploring and exploding the trusses, foundations, and underground caverns that underlie the creative act, and specifically, the act of creating a poem. Marjorie Perloff of the Washington Post Book World called Houseboat Days "the most exciting, most original book of poems to have appeared in the 1970s."
Con más de ochenta años, John Ashbery es el mejor poeta norteamericano vivo, como demuestra Un país mundano, su libro más reciente, una secuencia de poemas donde, lejos de repetirse, sigue indagando en el lenguaje, abriendo nuevos caminos, creando nuevas figuraciones. Romántico y escéptico, surrealista y preciso, Ashbery nos da en esta nueva y destellante obra un nuevo testimonio de su sabiduría, de su valentía y de su insobornable exigencia.
The great Pierre Reverdy, comrade to Picasso and Braque, peer and contemporary of Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams, is among the most mysteriously satisfying of twentieth-century poets, his poems an uncanny mixture of the simple and the sublime. Reverdy's poetry has exerted a special attraction on American poets, from Kenneth Rexroth to John Ashbery, and this new selection, featuring the work of fourteen distinguished translators, most of it appearing here for the first time, documents that ongoing relationship while offering readers the essential work of an extraordinary writer.Translated from the French by:John Ashbery Dan BellmMary Ann CawsLydia DavisMarilyn HackerRichard HowardGeoffrey O'BrienFrank O'HaraRon PadgettMark PolizzottiKenneth RexrothRichard SieburthPatricia TerryRosanna Warren
From one of our most important modern poets comes an essential early collection, including the famous long poems "The Skaters" and "Clepsydra"When Rivers and Mountains was published in 1966, American poetry was in a state of radical redefinition, with John Ashbery recognized as one of the leading voices in the New York School of poets. Ashbery himself had just returned to America from ten years abroad working as an art critic in France, and Rivers and Mountains, his third published collection of poems, is now considered by many critics to represent a pivotal transition point in his artistic career. The poet who would gain widespread acclaim with his multiple-award-winning Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) is, in this collection, still very much engaged in the intimate, personal project of taking his poetry apart and putting it back together again, interrogating not just the act of writing but poetry itself--its purpose, its composition, its fundamental parts. Nominated for a National Book Award by a panel of judges that included W. H. Auden and James Dickey, Rivers and Mountains includes two of Ashbery's most studied and admired works. "Clepsydra," which takes its name from an ancient device for measuring the passage of time, echoes both the physical form and the philosophical weight of a water clock in its contemplation of the experience of time as it passes. "The Skaters," the long poem that closes the collection, was immediately praised as a masterpiece of modern American poetry, and is the work that perhaps most clearly introduces the voice for which Ashbery is now well known and loved: generous, restless, wide-ranging, and human.
A captivating experiment in traditional poetic form, from one of the most untraditional American poets ever to set pen to paperAt first glance, John Ashbery's Shadow Train seems to embrace the constraints of traditional poetic form--but closer reading reveals that this work is Ashbery at his revolutionary best. In fifty poems, each consisting solely of four connected quatrains, Ashbery apparently plays by the rules while simultaneously violating every single one. Over and over again, the familiar, almost sonnet-like sixteen-line form creates an outline of a poem within which, one would expect, poetry is meant to arrive--as a station waits for a train. And yet, as with many of the world's greatest poems, the act of creating poetry also relies on the reading and the reader--in other words, as this collection's signature poem "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" puts it, "the poem is / you." In Shadow Train, Ashbery demonstrates how language influences our experience of reality, creating it and sustaining it while also remaining mysterious and ineffable: constantly arriving, but impossible to catch.
John Ashbery's first published book of poems, handpicked from the slush pile by none other than W. H. AudenAshbery's Some Trees narrowly beat out a manuscript by fellow New York poet Frank O'Hara to win the renowned Yale Series of Younger Poets prize in 1955--after the book had been rejected in an early screening round. Competition judge W. H. Auden was perhaps the first to note, in his original preface to Some Trees, the meditative polyphony that decades of readers have come to identify as Ashbery's unique style: "If he is to be true to nature in this world, he must accept strange juxtapositions of imagery, singular associations of ideas." But not all is strange and associative here: Some Trees includes "The Instruction Manual," one of Ashbery's most conversational and perhaps most quoted poems, as well as a number of poems that display his casually masterful handling of such traditional forms as the sonnet, the pantoum, the Italian canzone, and even, with "The Painter," the odd tricky sestina. Some Trees, an essential collection for Ashbery scholars and newbies alike, introduced one of postwar America's most enduring and provocative poetic voices, by turns conversational, discordant, haunting, and wise.
John Ashbery writes like no one else among contemporary American poets. In the construction of his intricate patterns, he uses words much as the contemporary painter uses form and color- words painstakingly chosen as conveyors of precise meaning, not as representations of sound. These linked in unexpected juxtapositions, at first glance unrelated and even anarchic, in the end create by their clashing interplay a structure of dazzling brilliance and strong emotional impact. From this preoccupation arises a poetry that passes beyond conventional limits into a highly individual realm of effectiveness, one that may be roughly likened to the visual world of Surrealist painting. Some will find Mr. Ashbery's work difficult, even forbidding; but those who are sensitive to new directions in ideas and the arts will discover here much to quicken and delight them.A 35th anniversary edition of classic work from a celebrated American poet who has received the Pulitzer Prize, the national Book Award, and the national Book Critics Circle Award. John Ashbery's second book, The Tennis Court Oaths, first published by Wesleyan in 1962, remains a touchstone of contemporary avant-garde poetry.
A provocative, challenging masterpiece by John Ashbery that set a new standard for the modern prose poem"The pathos and liveliness of ordinary human communication is poetry to me," John Ashbery has said of this controversial work, a collection of three long prose poems originally published in 1972, adding, "Three Poems tries to stay close to the way we talk and think without expecting what we say to be recorded or remembered." The effect of these prose poems is at once deeply familiar and startlingly new, something like encountering a collage made of lines clipped from every page of a beloved book--or, as Ashbery has also said of this work, like flipping through television channels and hearing an unwritten, unscriptable story told through unexpected combinations of voices, settings, and scenes. In Three Poems, Ashbery reframes prose poetry as an experience that invites the reader in through an infinite multitude of doorways, and reveals a common language made uncommonly real.
A collection of poems that recall, in their powerful transformations of language, the moment of clarity that arrives upon waking from a dreamOne of John Ashbery's most critically acclaimed collections since his iconic works of the mid-1970s, Wakefulness was praised in 1999 for its beauty and alertness. In these pages, the great poet is at once luring the reader into a vivid dream and waking us up with a jolt of recognition. In poems such as "The Village of Sleep," "Shadows in the Street," and "Wakefulness," dreams, sleeplessness, and other transformational and liminal states are revealed to be part of a ceaseless continuity of accelerating changes. Even the most seemingly familiar phrases ("stop me if you've heard this one") are ever in the process of changing their meanings, especially in Ashbery's hands. And distinctive new realities are created constantly by the power of words, in strange and beautiful combinations. With every word and every line, Ashbery questions the real and summons a new reality.
One of Ashbery's most acclaimed and beloved collections since Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, filled with his signature wit and generous intelligenceThe poems in John Ashbery's award-winning 1984 collection A Wave address the impermanence of language, the nature of mortality, and the fluidity of consciousness--matters of life and death that in other hands might run the risk of sentimentality. For John Ashbery, however, these considerations provide an opportunity to display his prodigious poetic gifts: the unerring ear for our evolving modern language and its ever-expanding universe of meanings, the fierce eye trained on glimmers underwater, and the wry humor that runs through observations both surprising and familiar. As the poem "The Path to the White Moon" has it, "We know what is coming, that we are moving / Dangerously and gracefully / Toward the resolution of time / Blurred but alive with many separate meanings / Inside this conversation." The long title poem of A Wave, which closes the book, is considered one of Ashbery's most distinguished works, praised by critic Helen Vendler for its "genius for a free and accurate American rendition of very elusive inner feelings, and especially for transitive states between feelings." Winner of both the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Bollingen Prize, this book is one to be read, reread, and remembered.
A mesmerizing, endlessly entertaining collection that shows John Ashbery at his most exuberant, honest, and inviting John Ashbery's nineteenth original collection of poetry, first published in 2000, might be one of the "Ashberyest" of his long and varied career. In these poems, the slippery pronouns (who is speaking, who is being spoken to?), the high-low allusions (Daffy Duck, please meet Rimbaud), and the twists of context (where are we anyway, and what's happening here?) that have long been hallmarks of Ashbery's poetry are on full, rambunctious display. Beginning with the book's very title, Ashbery invites the reader into the world of his poetry like never before; each poem can be read as a postcard to experiences that could be yours, his, or anyone's. And yet the poems in Your Name Here are also personal and particular. The collection is dedicated to an old friend, and in the well-known "History of My Life," Ashbery strikes a rare autobiographical chord. Some of the best-known poems of Ashbery's later career are here, including "Not You Again," "Crossroads in the Past," and "They Don't Just Go Away, Either." Polyphonic, deeply honest, and frequently very funny, Your Name Here is both wonder filled and wonderful.
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