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Planisphere

John Ashbery

John Ashbery - Planisphere
RRP: GBP£ 12.95
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847770 89 9
Categories: 21st Century, American, Gay and Lesbian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: December 2009
216 x 135 x 9 mm
160 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • Reviews
  • Tell me another dream. The long events surface
    wider, further apart, like autumn breakers.
    Birds are suddenly there. The house of cards
    on sand falters, fatally. I am elated.
    You never know how things work out
    except through “sleight” of hand, sometimes.

    from ‘Summer Reading’
    Even after half a century of amazing readers, John Ashbery continues to delight and challenge with his inventiveness. Planisphere takes the reader on a dizzying journey in the company of a virtuoso and sorcerer who makes the commonplace magical, disorientates and teases, and conjures glimpses of ‘horizons… bright and anxious’: ‘a space like a dream’. Planisphere restores to us a sense of joy and unease at the untried possibilities of language and of the world we take for granted.

    Cover image © Quemadura. Cover design StephenRaw.com
    Contents:

    Alcove
    Attabled with the spinning years
    B——'s mysterious greeting
    Boulevard exelmans in the rain
    Boundary issues
    Breathlike
    The Burning candle
    Chair rental
    Circa
    Decembrists
    Deep surprise
    Default mode
    El Dorado
    Episode
    Episode
    Experiment perilous
    Floating away
    For Fuck's sake
    The foreseeable future
    Fx
    Giraffe headquarters
    A goose walks along a path
    The gracious silhouette of ...What?
    Half--riders
    Happy as the sun
    He who loves and runs away
    I didn't know what time it was
    Idea of Steve
    In a wonderful place
    In one afternoon
    Is it just me or
    Just how cloudy everything gets
    The later me
    Leave the hand in
    Living in a big way
    The logistics
    Longing of the accords
    Lost sonnet
    Magnetic flowers
    More of what happened
    No extras
    No reason not to
    No rest for the weary
    Not my favorite shirt
    O Knave
    Occurrence
    The old jurisdiction
    Partial clearing
    A penitence
    Pernilla
    Perplexing ways
    The person of whom you speak
    Planisphere
    The Plywood years
    Poem
    Product placement
    Programmer
    Ragtime Cowboy Joe
    Rego park
    River of the Canoefish
    The salve merchant
    Semi--detached
    The seventh Chihuahua
    Sleepingly
    Some had lunch
    Some silly thing
    Something it wasn't
    Songs without words
    Sons of the desert
    Spooks run wild
    Sticker shock
    Street dust
    Stress related
    Structures in sand
    The stumming
    Summer reading
    Surprising announcement
    Tessera
    Then there was the occasional abasement
    They knew what they wanted
    This incredible tapestry
    This listener
    Tous les regretz
    The Tower of London
    Trespassing
    Um
    Unchiseled
    Upstate dancers
    Uptick
    Variation in the key of c
    The virgin king
    Voice--over
    The winemakers
    Working overtime
    World's largest glass of water
    Wulf
    You haven't received the letters yet?
    Zero percentage
    Zymurgy 
    JOHN ASHBERY was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He has published more than twenty collections of poetry, beginning in 1953 with Turandot and Other Poems. In 1976, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror won the Pulitzer, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award. His art writings are collected ... read more
    Praise for John Ashbery 'Praised as a magical genius, cursed as an obscure joker, John Ashbery writes poetry like no one else.' The Independent  'Great poetry, as T.S. Eliot said, can communicate before it is understood: Ashbery communicates in a way that both pays homage to language and transcends it at the same time.' The Guardian 'John Ashbery's Collected Poems 1956-1987, edited by Mark Ford (Carcanet), was a book I found inexhaustible.  Possibly the greatest living English-speaking poet and one of the most prolific, Ashbery takes language to its limits, so that words serve as pointers to shifting experiences that elude description.  Containing his masterpiece 'Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror', one of the most penetrating 20th-century meditations on what it means to be human, this collection succeeded in stirring my thoughts as well as delighting me.'  John Gray The Guardian Books Of The Year 2010 'The language of [John Ashbery's] books is informed by his roving enthusiasms for particular composers. His tastes are both eclectic and out-of-the-way.'- Michael Glover, 'A blue rinse for the language,' The Independent, 13 November, 1999  'The careering, centrifugal side of Girls on the Run is one of its most effective tools in creating its special ainbience of good-humoured menace ... Ashbery has made the slush of signification, the realm where words slip, slide, perish and decay, uniquely his own.' - David Wheatley, Times Literary Supplement, 30 June, 2000  'In his seventies John Ashbery offers a sprightly and energetic alternative. Instead of being sluggish he demands that the self must be even more alert, more vigilant, more attentive to the world around it, not indifferent to and weary of it. Alert, vigilant, attentive ... Wakefulness, the brilliantly evocative title of Ashbery's collection.' - Stephen Matterson, 'The Capacious Art of Poetry,' Poetry Ireland Review 62, 114  'Harold Bloom regards [John Ashbery] as something akin to a genius...' - Michael Glover, 'The poet as frustrated composer,' Book and Poetry Review section, The Independent, 14 August, 1998  '...Ashbery is still exuberantly dedicated to the truthful rendering of experience as a flow of sensations that defy interpretation. Consciousness is not so much a stream as a series of jump-cuts from one haunting or zany impression to the next. His best poems have a weirdly, intriguingly satisfying quality.' - Alan Brownjohn, 'Creating a sensation,' Book and Poetry Review section, The Sunday Times, 10 January, 1999

     'Stemming in part from Mallarme and in part from Whitman, Ashbery's work creates a tension in which the fine networks of linguistic reverie are balanced by the strong sense of American tradition.'- Peter Ackroyd, 'Books of the Year,' The Times Literary Supplement, 4 December, 1992  '...an Ashbery [poem] does not stand on its own but floats off into the reader's limitless consciousness like a balloon. Balloons can be very beautiful, inspire longing and also make you smile.'- Grey Gowrie, 'Where the commonplace is wonderful,' Book and Poetry Review section, The Daily Telegraph, 5 October, 1996  'John Ashbery's distinctiveness as a poet paradoxically resides in his ability to evade all single identities; like Whitman, he feels most fully himself when he contains multitudes ... [Ashbery] deploys a staggering variety of dictions, ranging from fragments of novelettish narratives to lyrical dream-visions, from the cliché of public speech to scraps of surrealist collage...'- Mark Ford, 'Free-wheeling towards the abyss,' Times Literary Supplement, 27 December, 1991  'Notoriously hard to characterise, Ashbery's poetry has been likened to many things - a spiritual experience or an animated cartoon ... No poet's lines are more accommodating to other voices and idioms ... Like restless guests, his subjects arrive and mingle, don unlikely disguises and abruptly announce they are "off on some expedition"...Such poise lends authority to his "positive melancholy," makes even his excesses ... masterly, and ensures that The Ashbery remains the destination of choice, the place "where everything gets unravelled just right."'- Julian Loose, Book and Poetry Review section, The Guardian, 3 November, 1992  'The Mooring of Starting Out is filled with illustrations glimpsed through luminous, funny, formidably intelligent and often heartbreaking poems.'- Andrew Zawacki, 'A wave of music,' Times Literary Supplement, 12 June, 1998  'John Ashbery is probably the most highly regarded living poet in America ... The "story" element in Ashbery comes over in fragmented and non-consequential ways, but the fragments have a strong power of visual evocation, and a startling precision of outline ... His focus is on a bravura artifice, a depersonalised surface crackling with "possibility," a brilliant randomness in which analogy with Action Painting asserts itself with special force...'- Claude Rawson, 'A poet in the postmodern playground,' Times Literary Supplement, 4 July, 1986
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