Quote of the Day
The back cover of a Carcanet book reads these days with something of the authority which Faber books used to possess in Eliot's prime. Their authors are a roll-call of achievement and promise.
Subscribe to our mailing list
Can You Hear, Bird
ISBN: 978 1 857542 24 0
Categories: 20th Century, American, Gay and Lesbian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: February 1996
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Meanwhile, back in
soulless America, people are having fun
from 'You Would Have Thought'
After John Ashbery's 216-page poem Flow Chart (1991) and the munificence of Hotel Lautréamont (1992) and And the Stars were Shining (1994), Can You Hear, Bird provides an A to Y of poems, moments in which voices, images and tones come in for Ashbery's wily attentions. The poems are generally short. But when we get to T, 'Tuesday Evening' occurs. Tuesday evenings are long in Ashbery's America. This Tuesday begins in tight rhymed quatrains; as the evening extends, the verse relaxes to elicit and swallow up more and more, until only rhyme pins together the abundance of impulse and reflection. An ars poetica seems to emerge:
An alphabet is forming words. We who watch them
never imagine pronouncing them, and another opportunity
is missed. You must be awake to catch them —
them, and the scent they give off with impunity.
We all tagged along, and in the end there was nothing
to see — nothing and a lot. A lot in terms of contour, texture,
world. That sort of thing. The real fun and its clothing
Ashbery's urbane imagination remains subject to time's encroachment and the heart's vagaries. 'He is quite simply the finest poet in English of his generation,' The Times said.
You might also be interested in:
The Carcanet Blog A Carcanet Poet Abroad: Jenny Lewis in Morocco read more On Motherhood and Poetry by Rebecca Goss and Karen McCarthy Woolf read more 'An Extraordinary Record of History': the making of Silkin's Complete Poems by Jon Glover read more 'A kind of genius': Gregory O'Brien on John Dennison's Otherwise read more Extraordinary Figures: Elaine Feinstein writes about Portraits read more 'A collision of two kinds of cultural absolutism' read more
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2015 Carcanet Press Ltd