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Where Shall I Wander

John Ashbery

Cover Picture of Where Shall I Wander
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857547 94 8
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, American
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2005
210 x 135 x 8 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.

    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 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
    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)
    'A fine collection of poems rooted in 21st-century America.'
    Robert McCrum, The Observer
    Praise for John Ashbery '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
      '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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