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Houseboat Days: Poems Paperback – March 30, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (March 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374525900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374525903
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ashbery is astonishingly original, and though his mannerisms have been widely imitated, he himself has imitated no one."--Edmund White

About the Author

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927 and educated at Harvard and Columbia. He is Charles P. Stevenson Jr., Professor of Language and Literature at Bard College and lives in New York City and Hudson, New York.

More About the Author

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia University, and went to France as a Fulbright Scholar in 1955, living there for much of the next decade.

His many collections include Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems (2007), which was awarded the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) won the three major American prizes--the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award--and an early book, Some Trees (1956), was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. The Library of America published the first volume of his collected poems in 2008.

Active in various areas of the arts throughout his career, he has served as executive editor of Art News and as art critic for New York magazine and Newsweek. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1988 to 1999. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and was a MacArthur Fellow from 1985 to 1990. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. He lives in New York.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Houseboat Days" was the first book of John Ashbery that I read many years ago. I was fascinated and frustrated by it then and still am. I wanted to focus on this book in reading the Library of America's new collection of Asbury's poems from 1956 -- 1987.

Ashbery (b. 1927) received wide recognition with his book "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" (1975) which won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The long title poem of the volume, which is based upon a 1524 painting by Parmigianino, remains Ashbery's masterpiece.

"Houseboat Days" (1977) was Ashbery's next book of poems following "Self-Portrait" and was itself a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The volume consists of 39 poems, including a long final poem, "Fantasia on 'The Nut-Brown Maid'" based upon a 16th Century ballad. The poem is a dialogue between characters denominated "He" and "She" on the battle of the sexes, followed by a concluding section in prose. Ashbery made liberal use of lines from his earlier poetry. This long work has not attained the stature of the "Self-Portrait." Instead, the "Houseboat Days" collection is known for its shorter poems.

Ashbery's poetry is difficult, dense, and disjointed. I think it should be read with a sense of play and freedom and that the temptation to paraphrase should be avoided. In its meditative, philosophical character, Ashbery's work follows on that of Wallace Stevens, the poet who most influenced Ashbery. This is avant-garde modernistic writing, and Ashbery wants to help himself and the reader see the world anew without cliches or preconceptions. Yet Ashbery is deeply rooted in his past, and many of his works evidence a sense of nostalgia.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
One of the great works of art of this century. Although less well-known than "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror", this, along with "The Double Dream of Spring" is Ashbery's best book.
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