John Ashbery

John Ashbery, 1927–2017, American poet, b. Rochester, N.Y., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1949), Columbia (M.A., 1951). Among the most acclaimed and influential American poets of his ear, he was (1960s–70s) one of the so-called New York school of poets, which also included Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. Influenced early in his career by the method and music of John Cage, Ashbery called his writing technique "managed chance." He was averse to the personal revelations of the contemporary, so-called confessional poets. His poems are experimental and idiosyncratic in style and syntax, strongly visual, and narrative, but typically complex, elusive, ambiguous, and somewhat obscure. His more than 20 collections include Some Trees (1956), The Tennis Court Oath (1962), Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, his most celebrated work (1975; Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle prize), Shadow Train (1981), A Wave (1984), April Galleons (1987), And the Stars Were Shining (1994), Chinese Whispers (2002), Where Shall I Wander (2005), Planisphere (2009), and Breezeway (2015). He also wrote two book-length poems, Flow Chart (1991) and Girls on the Run (1999); and three plays, The Compromise (1960), The Heroes (1960), and The Philosopher (1964); and coauthored a novel, A Nest of Ninnies (1969). On a Fulbright scholarship to Paris in the 1950s, Ashbery began to write art criticism and continued to do so after his return to New York, writing for various journals and editing the quarterly Art and Literature. Many of his art reviews and essays were collected in Reported Sightings (1989). He also translated works by such French writers as Pierre Reverdy, Raymond Roussel, Max Jacob, and Arthur Rimbaud. Ashbery taught at Brooklyn College, Harvard, and Bard College.

See M. Ford, ed., John Ashbery: Collected Poems, 1956–1987 (2008) and John Ashbery: Collected Poems 1991–2000 (2017); E. Richie, ed., Selected Prose (2004); K. Roffman, The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery's Early Life (2017); studies by D. Shapiro (1979), D. Lehman, ed. (1980) and as author (1999), H. Bloom, ed. (1985 and 2004), J. Shoptaw (1994), S. M. Schultz, ed. (1995), D. Herd (2000), G. Ward (2d ed. 2001), K. Bartczak (2006), A. DuBois (2006), and J. E. Vincent (2007).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

John Ashbery: Selected full-text books and articles

The New Anthology of American Poetry By Steven Gould Axelrod; Camille Roman; Thomas Travisano Rutgers University Press, vol.3, 2012
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Artists' Theatre: Four Plays By Frank O'Hara; James Merrill; John Ashbery; Lionel Abel; Herbert Machiz Grove Press, 1960
Librarian's tip: "The Heroes" by John Ashbery begins on p. 43
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
A Tradition of Subversion: The Prose Poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery By Margueritte S. Murphy University of Massachusetts Press, 1992
Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry By Srikanth Reddy Oxford University Press, 2012
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "New Digressions John Ashbery and the Changing Subjects of the Twenty-First Century"
"The Tension Is in the Concept": John Ashbery's Surrealism By Suarez-Toste, Ernesto Style, Vol. 38, No. 1, Spring 2004
"Everything Has a Schedule": John Ashbery's Some Trees and the Notion of Career By Zuba, Jesse Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 59, No. 2, Summer 2013
John Ashbery's Elizabeth Bishop By Carson, Luke Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 54, No. 4, Winter 2008
'Whispers out of Time': The Syntax of Being in the Poetry of John Ashbery By Norton, Jody Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 41, No. 3, Fall 1995
Modern Poetry after Modernism By James Longenbach Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "John Ashbery's Individual Talent"
Ashbery's "Self-Portrait." (John Ashbery) By Looper, Travis Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 28, No. 4, Fall 1992
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Reports of Looting and Insane Buggery Behind Altars: John Ashbery's Queer Politics By Vincent, John Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 44, No. 2, Summer 1998
Harold Bloom: The Rhetoric of Romantic Vision By David Fite University of Massachusetts Press, 1985
Librarian's tip: Chap. Five "The Poems at the End of the Romantic Mind: A. R. Ammons and John Ashbery"
Playing It By: Literary Essays and Reviews By William H. Pritchard University of Massachusetts Press, 1994
Librarian's tip: "John Ashbery" begins on p. 98
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