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Where Shall I Wander

John Ashbery

Cover Picture of Where Shall I Wander
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ISBN: 978 1 857547 94 8
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, American
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2005
216 x 135 mm
80 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • It's really quite a thrill
    When the moon rises above the hill
    And you've gotten over someone
    Salty and mercurial, the only person you ever loved.
    from 'Retro'

    John Ashbery's new collection of fifty-one poems ends with the substantial piece that gives the book its title. Composed in stanzaic prose, it is a fine specimen of his distinctive courtship mode, wooing the language with language, teasing it and teasing out of it a Protean lover that loves Protean him back: a you, an I, in a wild variety of registers and postures.

    Throughout Where Shall I Wander the effable and ineffable are in dialogue; time ('then' and 'now') and the stable moments of the poem are within earshot of one another, but cannot ever quite touch hands. There are ghosts and presences, some unexpected like Ali Baba, Arabia Deserta (down to the turning spit and braised goat) and Mrs Hanratty's apron; others like H?rlin are more insistently entertained, in a poetry that fractures and reinvents syntax, cadence and our sense of beauty, this tribute informed by the terror of H?rlin's later world in which it is impossible not to share.

    'A fine collection of poems rooted in 21st-century America.' - Robert McCrum, The Observer
    Table of Contents

    Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse 1

    O Fortuna 2

    Affordable Variety 3

    Days of Reckoning 4

    Wastrel 6

    Coma Berenices 7

    The New Higher 12

    In Those Days 13

    A Visit to the House of Fools 14

    Dryness of Mouth 15

    Involuntary Description 16

    Hölderlin Marginalia 17

    Told Her to Get On with It 23

    The Weather, for Example 24

    And Counting 26

    You Spoke as a Child 27

    Interesting People of Newfoundland 28

    Broken Tulips 30

    Retro 31

    Capital O 33

    Annuals and Perennials 35

    Wolf Ridge 36

    When I Saw the Invidious Flare 37

    Heavy Home 39

    The Situation Upstairs 41

    ¬Well-¬Lit Places 43

    Meaningful Love 44

    More Feedback 46

    Lost Footage 47

    The Red Easel 49

    Novelty Love Trot 50

    The Template 52

    From China to Peru 53

    Idea of the Forest 55

    The Injured Party 56

    A Darning Egg 57

    Wild City 58

    The Bled Weasel 60

    A Below Par Star 61

    The Snow Stained Petals Aren't Pretty Any More 62

    Tension in the Rocks 64

    Counterpane 65

    Two Million Violators 67

    Sonnet: More of Same 68

    The Love Interest 69

    Composition 70

    John Ashbery is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, most recently Quick Question (January 2013). He is the recipient of many honours, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur ‘genius’ award. Born in Rochester, New York, he was educated at Harvard and Columbia. In ... read more
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