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John Ashbery

(28 July 1927 / Rochester, New York)

John Ashbery
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John Lawrence Ashbery is an American poet. He has published more than twenty volumes of poetry and won nearly every major American award for poetry, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. But Ashbery's work still proves controversial. In an article on Elizabeth Bishop in his Selected Prose, he characterizes himself as having been described as "a harebrained, homegrown surrealist whose poetry defies even the rules and logic of Surrealism." Although renowned for the postmodern complexity and opacity of his work, Ashbery has stated that he wishes it to be accessible to as many people as possible, not a private dialogue.

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Quotations

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  • But it is the same thing we are all seeing,
    Our world. Go after it,
    Go get it boy, says the man holding the stick.
    Eat, says the hunger, and we plunge blindly in again,
    Int...
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "A Tone Poem."
  • I am not offended that these creatures (that's the word)
    Of my imagination seem to hold me in such light esteem,
    Pay so little heed to me. It's part of a complicated
    Flirtation ro...
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Mixed Feelings."
  • ''Although I mean it, and project the meaning
    As hard as I can into its brushed-metal surface,
    It cannot, in this deteriorating climate, pick up
    Where I leave off.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Ice-Cream Wars."
  • ''Yet the landscape, those billboards, age as rapidly as before.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "A Tone Poem."
  • ''The first year was like icing.
    Then the cake started to show through.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "More Pleasant Adventures."
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Comments about John Ashbery

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  • Gk Thomas (11/17/2012 4:12:00 PM)

    These are the readable poems, but most of Ashberry isn't readable.
    I'm sorry, but if a poem can only be understood by the poet's explication then he needs to supply that explication along with the poem. Otherwise he/she is merely playing the effete. And who of us would not be considered a poetic genius if we, and we alone, are the sole authority of that meaning? Lazarus rose from the fire of the salad bowl/ consumed exquisite Orpheus/ to the knight's maiden ravished knot of hope. Who wrote this passage from a terribly long poem? A poetic genius or a hoaxer? Careful you might guess wrong.

  • Gilles Goyette (1/14/2012 8:09:00 AM)

    You change the way I read. You change my expectations of language. Always a challenge, but completely worth the effort.

  • p.a. noushad (10/24/2008 3:23:00 AM)

    beautiful your nerration is.

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