Quote of the Day
Carcanet has always been the place to look for considerations of purely literary and intellectual merit. Its list relies on the vision and the faith and the energy of people who care about books, and values. It is thus as rare as it is invaluable.
Subscribe to our mailing list
ISBN: 978 0 856355 47 9
Categories: 20th Century, American
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: January 1988
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)
John Ashbery was born in New York in 1927. He is an art critic as well as a poet. He teaches at the City University of New York.
The Carcanet Blog Jenny Lewis: The Voyage to My Father read more The Last Men on Mercury: Tour Diary read more Gregory O'Brien: Poems from the Valparaiso Daybook read more Arto Vaun: Adhesives, Pancakes, and WS Merwin read more Dutch Literary Translator Faces Deportation from Belgium read more Caroline Bird in Conversation with Maya Catherine Popa read more
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2014 Carcanet Press Ltd