« | Home | »

John Ashbery 1927-2017

Tags:

‘Part of John Ashbery’s charm,’ Mark Ford wrote in the LRB in 1989, ‘is his self-deprecating uncertainty about the whole business: “Some certified nut/Will try to tell you it’s poetry.”’ The LRB published more than fifty poems by him,[*] the first of them in 1995 (a late start for us, nearly forty years after his first collection and twenty after Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror). ‘Die Meistersinger’, from last year, begins:

Only those who actively dislike poetry didn’t like him. The others could care less. There were too many other things to worry about, like is my licence expired yet? Fortunately there were a few in-between, those who school themselves to take an interest in everything, which is not to say they’re not truly, deeply interested in the things that matter most. To them he was a special case, something to take home and place on the library table, and talk about. To them he was truly unique, like the first in what would become a memorable series.

‘The clock is running over,’ it ends, ‘and an octopus wears my wallet now.’


[*] We’ve temporarily taken down the paywall, so non-subscribers can read them too.

Comments are closed.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • vaporizen on Cecil Taylor 1929-2018: First paragraph aside, this is an insightful tribute to a complex, seldom fully understood creative artist. Thank you for it. I was one of musician...
    • philip proust on Breaking the Mould?: "The crisis in democracy isn’t confined to Europe." It might be more accurate to speak of a crisis in liberal democracy. Democracy without its libe...
    • jssiii on Is sumer icumen in?: Another collapsing of Spring into Summer comes in the Padstow 'Obby 'Oss Song, sung on 1 May: Unite and unite and let us all unite For Summer is a...
    • norman rimmell on A Jar, a Blouse, a Letter: As a frequent visitor to friends in Leningrad/St.Petersburg since 1957 I have no doubt I was of some interest to both the KGB, and our security servic...
    • Martin Tharp on A Jar, a Blouse, a Letter: In my professional life, I work extensively with the paper unconscious, the perverted grapho-voyeur-mania, of one European Communist secret police for...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement
Advertisement