John Ashbery

Rookie (28 July 1927 / Rochester, New York)

John Ashbery Quotes

  • ''The disquieting muses again: what are "leftovers"?''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Business Personals."
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  • ''Perhaps we ought to feel with more imagination.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Recent Past."
  • ''... the first step of the terrible journey toward feeling somebody should act, that ends in utter confusion and hopelessness, east of the sun and west of the moon.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "For John Clare."
  • ''If you need a certain vitality you can only supply it yourself, or there comes a point, anyway, when no one's actions but your own seem dramatically convincing and justifiable in the plot that the number of your days concocts.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
  • ''It is the time we have now, and all our wasted time sinks into the sea and is swallowed up without a trace. The past is dust and ashes, and this incommensurably wide way leads to the pragmatic and kinetic future.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
  • ''Yes, in the long run there is something to be said for these shiftless days, each distilling its drop of poison until the cup is full; there is something to be said for them because there is no escaping them.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
  • ''Life became a pregnant silence, but it was understood that the silence was to lead nowhere.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
  • ''Here and there a bird sang, a rose silenced her expression of him, and all the gaga flowers wondered. But they puzzled the wanderer with their vague wearinesses.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Young Son."
  • ''The screen of supreme good fortune curved his absolute smile into a celestial scream.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Young Son."
  • ''There is the view that poetry should improve your life. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. International Herald Tribune (Paris, October 2, 1989).

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Best Poem of John Ashbery

Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror

As Parmigianino did it, the right hand
Bigger than the head, thrust at the viewer
And swerving easily away, as though to protect
What it advertises. A few leaded panes, old beams,
Fur, pleated muslin, a coral ring run together
In a movement supporting the face, which swims
Toward and away like the hand
Except that it is in repose. It is what is
Sequestered. Vasari says, "Francesco one day set himself
To take his own portrait, looking at himself from that purpose
In a convex mirror, such as is used by barbers . . .
He accordingly caused a ball of wood to be ...

Read the full of Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror

Daffy Duck In Hollywood

Something strange is creeping across me.
La Celestina has only to warble the first few bars
Of "I Thought about You" or something mellow from
Amadigi di Gaula for everything--a mint-condition can
Of Rumford's Baking Powder, a celluloid earring, Speedy
Gonzales, the latest from Helen Topping Miller's fertile
Escritoire, a sheaf of suggestive pix on greige, deckle-edged
Stock--to come clattering through the rainbow trellis
Where Pistachio Avenue rams the 2300 block of Highland

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