Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Poem

Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

American poet John Ashbery died Sunday, September 3 at his home in Hudson New York. His work was acknowledged and honored in many ways including the Pulitzer Prize.

David Orr and Dinitia Smith wrote an obituary for the New York Times.  How to describe his poetry? Orr and Smith observed that If some poets remind us of the richness of American poetry by blending seamlessly into one of its many traditions, Mr. Ashbery has frequently seemed like a tradition unto himself. It is a cliché to praise a writer by saying no one has ever sounded quite like him, and yet: No one has ever sounded quite like him.

Poetry Magazine  noted that Beyond the honors bestowed upon Ashbery during his life, essentially all possible honors a poet might be awarded, his body of work created the paradigm for writing poetry in America during the latter half of the twentieth century and continuing on through to the current moment.

Dan Chiasson who writes for The New Yorker and is a professor at Wellesley College where he teaches Ashbery's poems in some of his courses wrote a fine tribute. He has taught Ashbery's poems.

The links above have many poems but I include another, one I like. It is a cento in the world of poetry speak, i.e., a poem made entirely of quotations. Ashbery was a movie buff and this poem consists entirely of movie titles, becoming a poetic collage. It works and has a coherence that surprises and pleases, at least for me.

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