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Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems Hardcover – November 6, 2007

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Hardcover, November 6, 2007
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Ashbery's original, seminal Selected Poems crowned the first half of a career that has largely defined American poetry since the middle of the 20th century. One could think of that first Selected, published in 1985, as the summation of Ashbery's philosophical period, in which the poet self-consciously interrogated the grip—or lack of one—language exerts on the world at large, most notably in poems like Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. This new volume—beginning with poems from April Galleons (1987) and ending with Where Shall I Wander (2005)—presents the first panoramic view of Ashbery's second phase, in which he explores, celebrates, sends up and revels in the American vernacular. Encompassing the surreal (You mop your forehead with a rose, recommending its thorns), the tender (Everything was spotless in the little house of our desire), the self-deprecating (There was I: a stinking adult) and the quietly, utterly haunting (Those who came closest did not come close), Ashbery seems to hit every possible note in his scattershot manner. Of particular interest are extended selections from the book-length works Flow Chart (1991) and Girls on the Run (1999). This is an essential book. Along with the original Selected (Penguin), we can now see the full impact of the most representative poet of the last 50 years. (Nov.)
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"Once started, an Ashbery poem is hard to put down or dismiss... if there's a modern poet you need on your shelves, and in your head, it's Ashbery." Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian, Paperback Choice, Saturday November 24, 2007 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061367176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061367175
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,631,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By volodya88 on December 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This selection contains April Galleons, Flow Chart, Hotel Lautremont, And the Stars Are Shining, Can You Hear, Bird, Wakefulness, Girls on the Run, Your Name Here, Chinese Whispers, and Where Shall I Wander. If you are a casual reader of Ashbery, this is perfect for you because it keeps you from rummaging through several collections to find a handful of great poems. For instance, Flow Chart is a fantastic long poem, but for this Selected, it is stripped down to only section Five (out of six). I can't complain too much about what was left out either. There are a few poems here and there but overall these are truly the strongest of his latter oeuvre. If you are a serious reader of Ashbery, then don't expect too much. There isn't an introduction, which i thought was a bummer, and the great poem "Heavenly Days" from Chinese Whispers isn't in here. Also I found the deckle-edge to be a hindrance to easily thumbing through the pages. It's a little too precious. What may be the most interesting part of the book for JA fans is to compare your selection with his selections. I find this as an interesting gauge to what the author aesthetically prefers, at least at the time of the selection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Matthews on July 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
John Ashbery grows ever more playful as time wears on, yet his playfulness gives the reader a whiff of something truly sublime. Many theories have been proposed on how Ashbery writes his poetry and what, exactly, he's up to.

Personally, I've given up trying to understand it rationally, as a series of ideas, or even aesthetically, as art. I think he simply channels his poetry from another dimension. I think it must be a phonetic transcription of an alien tongue. My theory explains everything except, of course, those moments when he's just making fun. Oh, and the poems where he goes off half-cocked in a brazen attempt to write the worst poem ever, with clunky rhyme-schemes and ridiculous cliches, but it brings tears to your eyes because through it all it is just the most moving poem you've ever read. Because all of our stupid human cliches are elevated and transformed in some kind of superlative alchemy only John can enact. My theory of extra-dimensional channeling does not explain those poems very well, either.

'Notes from the Air' is a superb selection of Ashbery's later works. I recommend it highly for Ashbery fans and the newly Ashbery-brave alike. I also want to mention that I feel nothing but solidarity with those reviewers who say they just don't get it. I don't get it either. I just let it wash over me and through me. I read Ashbery every morning as my religious observance. I can't imagine what it's doing to my brain...

J Jennifer Matthews
author of "Radically Condensed Instructions for Being Just as You Are"
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By Really a Reader on February 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think of Ashbery and then muse on Harold Bloom's appreciation for the gentleman's soul. Ashbery is such a very fine poet and should be read and re-read. His understanding of the confusions and the dizziness of modernity is a sorting out of possibilities of how to function in our world. A deeply realized and meditative poet.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Myers VINE VOICE on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Length: 6:54 Mins
This book was my first encounter with the Ashberry corpus aside from a few discrete poems. I can quite see now why he is such a polarising figure. Most of his poems are opaque, replete with French words and certainly chock-full of cribbings from other poems of which even the well-read reader may not be aware.

I chose this poem because - although it contains no French - it seems to me to best exemplify the ironic French style where everything is put to the reader, as Ashberry would say, mine de rien, or casually, but in which the import of the poem is anything but superficial.
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