Sunday, May 24, 2020

Reading John Ashbery for two-and-a-half years

On 14 October 2017, I read John Ashbery's poem "Two Scenes", which opens his 1956 debut "Some Trees", and posted a quotation from it on Twitter and Facebook: "From every corner comes a distinctive offering." From then until today, with only a few missed days, I have been reading and posting quotations from the two volumes of Ashbery in the Library of America editions, and today I read and quoted from "The Lyricist", the last previously uncollected poem at the end of "Collected Poems 1991-2000": "So I was bewildered, OK?" It's been wonderful to follow the development of Ashbery's "distinctive offerings" and be pleasantly "bewildered" by their humor "from every corner". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 May)

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