Quick question: where and when will John Ashbery read from his new book? The short answer is the New School's Tishman Auditorium at 66 West 12 Street in New York City on Saturday evening December 8, 2012, at 7 PM.
John Ashbery, "the grand master and universal genius of American poetry, now eighty-five" (P. Brunst) will read from his brand-new collection, Quick Question, in the Tishman Auditorium of the New School on Saturday, December 8, at 7 PM. A dialogue between the poet and David Lehman, poetry coordinator of the School of Writing, will follow the reading.
John Ashbery has won nearly every major American award for poetry -- and numerous honors in foreign lands. A Wave (1984) won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award; and Some Trees (1956) was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, the Bollingen Prize, he Grand Prix de Biennales Internationales de Poésie (Brussels), the Feltrinelli Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, two Ingram Merrill Foundation grants, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, and the Shelley Memorial Award. The title of Officier de la Legion d'honneur was conferred on him by the French government in 2002. His other books include Houseboat Days (1977), As We Know (1979), Shadow Train (1981), April Galleons (1987), Flow Chart (1991), Hotel Lautréamont (1992), And the Stars Were Shining (1994), Can You Hear, Bird (1995), Wakefulness (1998), Girls on the Run (1999), Your Name Here (2000), As Umbrellas Follow Rain (2001) Chinese Whispers (2002), Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems (2007). and Planisphere (2009). He has also published Three Plays (1978), Reported Sightings (a selection of his art criticism) (1989),Other Traditions (revised versions of the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures he gave at Harvard in 1989 and 1990, and Selected Prose (2004). In 1988 Ashbery edited the inaugural volume in The Best American Poetry series. The evening will be introduced by Robert Polito, director of the School of Writing, with faculty member Tom Healy.
Here's a very brief Ashbery sampler:
The term ignorant is indeed perhaps an overstatement, implying as it does that something is known somewhere, whereas in reality we are not even sure of this: we in fact cannot aver with any degree of certainty that we are ignorant. Yet this is not so bad; we have at any rate kept our open-mindedness -- that, at least, we may be sure that we have -- and are not in any danger, or so it seems, of freezing into the pious attitudes of those true spiritual bigots whose faces are turned toward eternity and who therefore can see nothing. -- from Three Poems
You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.
And now that the end is near
The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there and mystery and food.
Come see it.
Come not for me but it.
But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other. -- from "Just Walking Around"
"I am aware of the pejorative associations of the word ‘escapist,’ but I insist that we need all the escapism we can get and even that isn’t going to be enough."
So one can lose a good idea
by not writing it down, yet by losing it one can have it: it nourishes other asides
it knows nothing of, would not recognize itself in, yet when the negotiations
are terminated, speaks in the acts of that progenitor, and does
recognize itself, is grateful for not having done so earlier. -- from Flow Chart
" I feel that poems are going on all the time in my head and occasionally I snip off a length."
I feel the carousel starting slowly
And going faster and faster: desk, papers, books,
Photographs of friends, the window and the trees
Merging in one neutral band that surrounds
Me on all sides, everywhere I look.
And I cannot explain the action of leveling,
Why it should all boil down to one
Uniform substance, a magma of interiors.
My guide in these matters is your self,
Firm, oblique, accepting everything with the same
Wraith of a smile, and as time speeds up so that it is soon
Much later, I can know only the straight way out,
The distance between us. -- from "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror"
“I write with experiences in mind, but I don't write about them, I write out of them.”
The room I entered was a dream of this room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.
The oval portrait
of a dog was me at an early age.
Something shimmers, something is hushed up.
We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here. -- "This Room"