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The New York Poets: an anthology

John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara and James Schuyler

Edited by Mark Ford

Cover Picture of The New York Poets: an anthology
RRP: GBP£ 14.95
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ISBN: 978 1 857547 34 4
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, American, Anthologies
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: March 2004
220 x 154 x 19 mm
224 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • "They Dream Only Of America"

    They dream only of America
    To be lost among the thirteen million pillars of grass:
    "This honey is delicious
    Though it burns the throat."

    And hiding from darkness in barns
    They can be grownups now
    And the murderer's ash tray is more easily--
    The lake a lilac cube.

    He holds a key in his right hand.
    "Please," he asked willingly.
    He is thirty years old.
    That was before

    We could drive hundreds of miles
    At night through dandelions.
    When his headache grew worse we
    Stopped at a wire filling station.

    Now he cared only about signs.
    Was the cigar a sign?
    And what about the key?
    He went slowly into the bedroom.

    "I would not have broken my leg if I had not fallen
    Against the living room table. What is it to be back
    Beside the bed? There is nothing to do
    For our liberation, except wait in the horror of it.

    And I am lost without you."

    John Ashbery

    For the first time, The New York Poets gathers in a single volume the best work of four extraordinary poets: Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. By the early 1950s all four were settled in Manhattan, collaborating, competing and encouraging each other's radical experiments with language and form. Much of their work reflects their participation in the creative energies of the New York art scene, 'the floods of paint', to quote James Schuyler, 'in whose crashing surf we all scramble'. Believing that anything could be material for a poem, they transformed American poetry with their irreverent wit and daring.

    Mark Ford's anthology is an essential introduction to four poets whose work has influenced poetry around the world. It includes detailed background information and a substantial bibliography.
    Table of Contents

    Introduction - Mark Ford

    Select Bibliography

    Frank O'Hara

    Autobiographia Literaria

    Poem (At night Chinamen jump)

    Poem (The eager note on my door said "Call me/)

    Memorial Day 1950

    A Pleasant Thought from Whitehead



    Meditations in an Emergency


    Poem (There I could never be a boy,)

    To the Harbormaster

    At the Old Place

    My Heart

    To the Film Industry in Crisis


    In Memory of My Feelings

    A Step Away from Them

    Why I Am Not a Painter

    Poem Read at Joan Mitchell's


    A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island

    To Gottfried Benn

    The Day Lady Died

    Adieu to Norman, Bon Jour to Joan and Jean-Paul

    Joe's Jacket

    You Are Gorgeous and I'm Coming

    Poem (Khrushchev is coming on the right day!)

    Getting Up Ahead of Someone (Sun)


    Ave Maria

    Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)

    First Dances


    John Ashbery

    The Picture of Little J.A. in a Prospect of Flowers

    Some Trees

    The Painter

    "They Dream Only of America"

    A Last World

    These Lacustrine Cities

    from The Skaters

    Soonest Mended

    Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape

    Definition of Blue

    The One Thing That Can Save America

    City Afternoon

    Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

    Street Musicians


    Wet Casements

    Daffy Duck in Hollywood

    As We Know

    At North Farm

    A Driftwood Altar

    The History of My Life

    Kenneth Koch

    Fresh Air

    You Were Wearing

    Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams

    The Circus


    The Simplicity of the Unknown Past

    To Marina

    Days and Nights

    1. The Invention of Poetry

    2. The Stones of Time

    3. The Secret

    4. Out and In

    5. Days and Nights

    One Train May Hide Another

    A Time Zone

    James Schuyler


    May 24th or so

    Buried at Springs

    Empathy and New Year

    An East Window on Elizabeth Street

    A Gray Thought

    To Frank O'Hara



    The Bluet

    Hymn to Life

    June 30,1974

    Korean Mums

    Wystan Auden

    Dining Out With Doug and Frank

    The Payne Whitney Poems


    We Walk



    Heather and Calendulas



    February 13,1975




    The Snowdrop

    En Route to Southampton

    Faure's Second Piano Quartet

    Index of First Lines

    Index of Titles

    John Ashbery
    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
    Kenneth Koch
    Kenneth Koch is grouped with John Ashbery , Frank O'Hara and James Schuyler , a grouping which tends to underplay the real differences between each poet's projects; their collaborations were inventive because of their differences, not their similarities, and what marks all four is the ability to work at tangents without ... read more
    James Schuyler
    James Schuyler was born in Chicago on 9 November 1923. He attended Bethany College of West Virginia from 1941 to 1943. In the late 40s he moved to New York City where he worked for NBC and befriended W. H. Auden. He later moved to Italy, where he lived in Auden's ... read more
    Mark Ford
    Mark Ford was born in 1962. His publications include two collections of poetry, Landlocked (Chatto & Windus 1991, 1998) and Soft Sift (Faber & Faber 2001, Harcourt Brace 2003); a critical biography of the French poet, playwright and novelist Raymond Roussel ( Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams , Faber ... read more
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