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ISBN: 978 0 856355 47 9
Categories: 20th Century, American, Gay and Lesbian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: January 1994
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Rain Moving In
The blackboard is erased in the attic
And the wind turns up the light of the stars,
Sinewy now. Someone will find out, someone will know.
And if somewhere on this great planet
The truth is discovered, a patch of it, dried, glazed by the sun,
It will just hang on, in its own infamy, humility. No one
Will be better for it, but things can't get any worse.
Just keep playing, mastering as you do the step
Into disorder this one meant. Don't you see
It's all we can do? Meanwhile, great fires
Arise, as of haystacks aflame. The dial has been set
And that's ominous, but all your graciousness in living
Conspires with it, now that this is our home:
A place to be from, and have people ask about.
Over forty new poems in verse and prose make up A Wave, John Ashbery's tenth collection. The title poem is a twenty-page meditation on change, loss and adjustment; it is a major poem that takes place alongside 'Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror'and 'Litany' as a challenging masterwork of modern American poetry.
John Ashbery describes the way in which the rhythm of childhood memories permeates the verse of his long poem,'A Wave':
'Waves have always been somehow embedded in my mind because I spent a great deal of my childhood on the edge of one of the great lakes, Lake Ontario, where my grandparents lived. They're not as big as the ones on the ocean but they do get to be pretty big and you hear them all day long, and their rhythm is something that has always been with me and keeps erupting in the poetry.'
(talking to David Sexton, The Sunday Times, 16th June 1983)
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