Heartfelt happy birthday wishes to John Ashbery born on this day (as was Gerard Manley Hopkins, by the way).
The new Library of America edition of JOHN ASHBERY: COLLECTED POEMS 1956-1987, edited deftly by Mark Ford, is scheduled for release this October, and it's a must-have volume. Not only does it contain all the books from Some Trees through April Galleons (including The Vermont Notebook), but it also features more than one hundred pages of previously uncollected works. You'll find the poems he wrote at Deerfield that a "friend" pirated and published under a pseudonym; poems from Harvard days; the cento "To a Waterfowl" from Locus Solus; and such other noteworthy poems as "Evening Quatrains" and "Dangling Modifiers." The extensive chronology in the back of the book is invaluable.
You may order it here.
From Ashbery's merry "One Hundred Multiple-Choice Questions":
1. Thinking can help to solve problems because
a) problems exist only in the mind
b) problems must be taken seriously
c) mind triumphs over matter
d) not to think would be to avoid the problem
e) no problem can be completely solved anyway
f) it is our duty to think our way out of problems
Can't argue with that. Or this:
6. Religious freedom means
a) that God does not exist
b) that God is dead
c) that the individual is free to worship God as he chooses
d) that we need attend church only on Sundays
e) that we can do as we please
f) that there is no life after death
68. "E=mc squared" alludes to
a) the personality quotient
b) the battle between the sexes
c) the generation gap
f) The Little Foxes
g) all of the preceding
Give up? The correct answers are below.
Correct answers: 1) g, 6) simon says, 68) A mazurka is a Polish dance.