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John Ashbery: Collected Poems, 1956-1987 (Library of America, No. 187) Hardcover – October 2, 2008
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Since the death of Wallace Stevens in 1955, we have been in the Age of Ashbery.
?Since the death of Wallace Stevens in 1955, we have been in the Age of Ashbery.?
Top Customer Reviews
Ashbery's stature is demonstrated by, among many other ways, this volume of his Collected Poems from 1956 -- 1987 in the Library of America (LOA) series. Ashbery is the first living poet to be honored with a complete volume in the LOA. A second projected LOA volume will cover Ashbery's poetry subsequent to 1987. The Library of America was founded in 1979 to preserve the best of American writing in uniform, accessible editions. It is a series that celebrates America in poetry, history, fiction, philosophy, travel writing, journalism, and more. Ashbery richly deserves his place in it. Ashbery was born in 1927 and was raised in upstate New York. He attended Harvard and Columbia and lived for ten years (1955 -- 1965) in Paris.
This volume consists of over 450 poems. It includes the twelve books Ashbery published between 1956 ("Some Trees") and 1987 ("April Galleons") together with over 60 uncollected poems. Ashbery's first book, "Some Trees" received the Yale Younger Poets Prize. It was romantic in character and made much more use of formal verse forms than did his subsequent work. For example, an excellent early poem in the volume, "The Painter" is written in the highly traditional and formal poetic form called a sestina.Read more ›
My two favorites within this volume are the ""Houseboat Days," which hit at the more relaxed and free-flowing later poetry including those collections released after the purview of this book, and "The Tennis Court Oath," which is about Ashbery's days in Paris and contain what many see as his most challenging work. Overall, this is an excellent way into the work of John Ashbery and is to be savored.
However, if you are to appreciate him, you must forget trying to make conventional "sense" out of his writing. Instead, try to let the loosely connected or disconnected scenes, images, etc. wash over you and form their own connections, to create in your mind a new world of poetic reality.
Ashbery's own selection from this time period (up to '87) is available, paperback, for less. That's nice, the poet's own selection tells you something; but this volume is everything he wrote in till then including uncollected material, a very detailed chronolgy of his life, 23 pages of notes on the poems and it is in the agreeable Library of America format.
America has produced an uncanny amount of great poetry for some reason, and this fellow will be in the inner circle. $27? Go for it.
....Returning after a few mos more reading, it's become a favorite. If you find the poems that are easy, use a bookmark (never write in a book) then branch out...like Tom Waits tunes...
I read in the NYBR review of this book a few weeks ago that Ashbery has said he would be horrified if he thought that folks were just browsing thru his poetry stoned!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book design and layout is fine. The poems require a lot of work. Many are incomprehensible.Published 19 months ago by Thomas Holmes
Perhaps I am wrong. I enjoy the SOUND of Ashbery. I enjoy his humor. he is skillful. But after reading most of this -- well, much of this -- I have decided he is a... Read morePublished 22 months ago by David Tooke
Simply because with Yves Bonnefoy John Ashbery is the best poet of the last 50 years. I met him in Italy about 15 years ago and I can' t forget those days. Read morePublished on April 24, 2014 by pierangelo
I bought this book on the strength of Ashbery's reputation, but cannot for the life of me understand why it is so high. Read morePublished on May 20, 2013 by Stephen Wessells
The poetry of John Ashbery has an undeserved reputation for being difficult. To help the uninitiated ENJOY his poetry I have devised this little multi-step program. Read morePublished on October 30, 2012 by Comment Man