National Poetry Month card #24

National Poetry Month greeting card - John Ashbery

I’m doing one of these a day until the end of April. To send it, copy the permalink or the image file link into an email, tweet, Facebook DM, etc. — or just download and make free with the image.

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  1. I had to think about this one for a while. Then, bonk, I got it (I think).


    1. Those are of course things that the grown-up Ashbery likes to say about “reality.”


  2. Don Paterson’s deliciously cranky collection of aphorisms and other short prose pieces, I read a piece that made me think, fairly or unfairly, of Ashbery:

    “Our American genius is in town…no one can recall the title of a single poem he has written, yet his eminence goes unquestioned; were he to write one really memorable line, his reputation would collapse. Nothing disturbs the perfectly unreflective surface of his composure, not the lowest brilliancy.”



  3. I’ve never understood the raves for Ashbery’s brand of smug and glossy gibberish.

    His least annoying use: disaggregate a phrase, and use to caption the back of the book picture in The Sophisticated Traveler.


  4. Whew! So it’s really okay not to dote on Ashbery? I never disliked his verse, I just never liked it. But I assumed that just meant there was something wrong with me, since so many people seemed to think he was the Boss Poet of Now. I can’t imagine memorizing one of his poems. Why would one bother?

    (To me that’s what a good poem is: one that I would like to memorize. Even if I don’t actually do it. As it happens, everyone on this comment thread — whose poetry I’ve read — has written poems I’d like to memorize.)


    1. My position is, if people like that kind of poetry, great — I’m glad Ashbery is there for you. But please do the rest of us a favor and quit acting like your boy is somehow superior to all those poets for whom meaning and sincerity aren’t dead yet.


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