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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars variation is the premium
I have read Ashbery's first books, such as: Some Trees, and The Double Dream of Spring, Houseboat Days, and also much of the Selected Poems, and I think this latest book, Chinese Whispers, is comparable to his best work.
As I read Chinese Whispers, and then reread it, I found how it is similar to the variation found in an anthology. The Best American Poetry 2003...
Published on October 26, 2003 by volodya88

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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Downhill Still
The mild decline of a great talent continues. Johnny hasn't been on point since Wakefulness, but we can thank somebody that this collection, however mediocre, still easily trumps the ghastly "...Rain". Please--I adore Ashbery, so no hot-dung tossing. There are some great pieces in this latest: "Little Sick Poem", "Half-Kiss'd", the second...
Published on November 2, 2002 by Grey


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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars variation is the premium, October 26, 2003
This review is from: Chinese Whispers: Poems (Hardcover)
I have read Ashbery's first books, such as: Some Trees, and The Double Dream of Spring, Houseboat Days, and also much of the Selected Poems, and I think this latest book, Chinese Whispers, is comparable to his best work.
As I read Chinese Whispers, and then reread it, I found how it is similar to the variation found in an anthology. The Best American Poetry 2003 contains all kinds of forms and tones, etc. and Ashbery, in C. W. takes on this kind of task, the task of not settling in a rhythm, to keep moving. Even toward the winter of his career, Ashbery is still searching; he seems to still be searching like a beginning poet, yet a new poet with a strong voice.
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Downhill Still, November 2, 2002
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This review is from: Chinese Whispers: Poems (Hardcover)
The mild decline of a great talent continues. Johnny hasn't been on point since Wakefulness, but we can thank somebody that this collection, however mediocre, still easily trumps the ghastly "...Rain". Please--I adore Ashbery, so no hot-dung tossing. There are some great pieces in this latest: "Little Sick Poem", "Half-Kiss'd", the second to last poem whose title escapes me...
...go to the library, but don't buy the thing unless you're compiling a comprehensive collection. A lot of blubber, filler.
I'd give it 2.5 stars, if I could--the last half gold.
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4 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A tragedy and a travesty, wrapped in black and yellow, November 25, 2004
This review is from: Chinese Whispers: Poems (Hardcover)
Before reading this glittering failure, I desperately feared for the future of poetry in this country; but seeing as nothing could possibly be worse than this, my fears are suddenly abated. Dear post-post-modern reader, brace yourself for the eloquent, rightfully loaded death sentence of the New York School of American poetry (now at least we have a perfectly valid excuse to plan its funeral and move on to new and better things!). At best, this centerless literary labyrinth, alive with heartless, overwrought, sharp-toothed little imps, represents a disgracefully grandiose attempt to self-promote and to further beat the already beaten-to-death poetics of the abstract expressionists, for the sole benefit of the American, eurocentric, cigar-smoking literati and its smug conformist aplomb. This is writing for the sake of seeming clever (much like this arguably unfair review), but it is taken to the most obnoxious level possible, with highly referential super-high brow humor, tensionless line breaks, tricky word riddles that seem to smirk snobbishly at you as you read; and, worst of all, there is a profound absence of emotional impact. The prose pieces are only slightly more readable. In fact, the best thing about this book is the cover, a storm of sharp, yellow ,leaf-like forms ripping into a black background - very cool. Anyway, back to the heart of the matter; if you have money to burn, don't waste it on this. Go buy a pack of gum and an issue of Hustler instead. If you're an Ashbery fan, plunge into the beautifully weird cover art and think fondly of his past work, but don't dare open the book...bad idea.
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Chinese Whispers: Poems
Chinese Whispers: Poems by John Ashbery (Hardcover - October 22, 2002)
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