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Collected Poems

1991-2000

John Ashbery

Edited by Mark Ford

Ashbery Collected 1991-2000
10% off
Categories: 20th Century, American, LGBTQ+
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (840 pages)
(Pub. Jan 2018)
9781784105259
£20.00 £18.00
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • After his spectacular early career, in which he became one of the best-loved and most controversial poets of his time, and his radical and productive middle years, John Ashbery continued effortlessly finding new directions in the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, writing playfully, inventively. His language is exquisitely attuned to mundane reality, transforming it. Here in a single, substantial, authoritative, and helpfully annotated volume are seven complete books from this crucial period, starting with Flow Chart (1991), a tour de force that shows Ashbery’s mastery of ‘the entire orchestral potential of the English language,’ as Helen Vendler put it. It complements Ashbery’s earlier Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, offering a vision of the collective ‘dream of everyday life that was our / beginning, and where we still live, out in the open, under clouds stacked up in a holding pattern / like pictures in a nineteenth-century museum.’ The poems range across Ashbery’s varied interests and obsessions – opera, film noir, French poetry, the visual arts. Everywhere is his boundless inventiveness, his pitch-perfect ear for American speech, his exuberant erudition. The book ends with twenty-six uncollected poems, among them ‘Hoboken’, a collage that pillages Roget’s Thesaurus, and much else.

    Cover: Trevor Winkfield, Portrait of John Ashbery, 2014. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery.
    John Ashbery
    John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. His books of poetry include Breezeway ; Quick Question ; Planisphere ; Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems, which was awarded the 2008 International Griffin Poetry Prize; A Worldly Country ; Where Shall I Wander ; and Self-Portrait in ... 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
    Awards won by John Ashbery Winner, 1997  Gold Medal for Poetry Winner, 2001 Wallace Stevens Award Winner, 1995 Robert Frost Medal Winner, 1976 National Book Critics Circle Award (Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror) Winner, 1976 National Book Award (Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror) Winner, 1976 Pulitzer Award (Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror)
    Praise for John Ashbery 'That Ashbery had these several extended works underway simultaneously testifies not only to his unflagging fealty to the form but also to his extravagantly various powers of invention and intelligence... Even as the references that undergird these projects range from the reassuringly familiar to the dauntingly obscure, as is typical with Ashbery, they characterize a rarefied mental atmosphere, one in which the poet's droll self-awareness deflates what otherwise might be pretension... Ashbery recognized the porous border between decision and delusion, between finality and its seeming appearance. This collection of unfinished works allows readers to tread that border as well.'

    Albert Mobilio, Poetry

    'This is an exciting missing piece of the jigsaw for Ashbery enthusiasts. Here language fizzes with a vital "off-kilter quality" and an Ashberian state of open-ended possibility.'

    The Poetry Book Society Summer Bulletin

    'I'll keep returning to The Wave, knowing that each time I do, I'll connect with poems, and lines in poems, I haven't noticed before and recconect with those that have resonated already'
    Pam Thompson, The North
    'John Ashbery's final collection of poetry disguises itself well as a mid-career high. The energy and modernity of his strange little worlds tell nothing of his age.'
    Stand Magazine


      'More than a century after Arthur Rimbaud composed his Illuminations they are reborn in John Ashbery's magnificent translation. It is fitting that the major American poet since Hart Crane and Wallace Stevens should give us this noble version of the precursor of all three.'
    Harold Bloom
    'A fine collection of poems rooted in 21st-century America.'
    Robert McCrum, The Observer
      'More than a century after Arthur Rimbaud composed his Illuminations they are reborn in John Ashbery's magnificent translation. It is fitting that the major American poet since Hart Crane and Wallace Stevens should give us this noble version of the precursor of all three.'
    Harold Bloom
    'Quick Question, with the hushed intensity of its music and great lyric beauty, could only be Ashbery.'
    Ian Thomson, Financial Times
     The book invites the reader to poetic gluttony. It serves as a corrective to the monoglot provincialism by which the Anglophone world is still bedevilled.
    Sean O'Brien, Independent
     'The lyrics in Breezeway, a new collection by the octogenarian poet John Ashbery are as good as his finest. I especially like the final poem, poignantly reprising the last line of Keats' Ode to a Nightingale', "Do I wake or sleep?"'
    Salley Vickers, The Observer - The New Review, 29.11.2015.
      '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 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
        '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
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