Other Traditions

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Harvard University Press, 2000 - Poetry - 167 pages
10 Reviews

One of the greatest living poets in English here explores the work of six writers he often finds himself reading "in order to get started" when writing, poets he turns to as "a poetic jump-start for times when the batteries have run down." Among those whom John Ashbery reads at such times are John Clare, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Raymond Roussel, John Wheelwright, Laura Riding, and David Schubert. Less familiar than some, under Ashbery's scrutiny these poets emerge as the powerful but private and somewhat wild voices whose eccentricity has kept them from the mainstream--and whose vision merits Ashbery's efforts, and our own, to read them well.

Deeply interesting in themselves, Ashbery's reflections on these poets of "another tradition" are equally intriguing for what they tell us about Ashbery's own way of reading, writing, and thinking. With its indirect clues to his work and its generous and infectious appreciation of a remarkable group of poets, this book conveys the passion, delight, curiosity, and insight that underlie the art and craft of poetry for writer and reader alike. Even as it invites us to discover the work of poets in Ashbery's other tradition, it reminds us of Ashbery's essential place in our own.


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Review: Other Traditions

User Review  - Michael Steger - Goodreads

This is a fantastic collection of deceptively short essays. Ashbery provides a great deal of insight into the work the poets he selected for his Charles Eliot Norton Lectures (John Clare, Thomas ... Read full review

Review: Other Traditions

User Review  - Annette Boehm - Goodreads

Poet John Ashbery talks about some of the poets whose work has influenced him. For this book he chooses 'minor' poets, and the result is interesting and very readable. For a longer discussion of this book, check out my blogpost on it here: http://outsideofacat.wordpress.com/20... Read full review


John Clare Grey Openings Where the Light Looks Through
Olives and Anchovies The Poetry of Thomas Lovell Beddoes
The Bachelor Machines of Raymond Roussel
Why Must You Know? The Poetry of John Wheelwright
The Unthronged Oracle Laura Riding
David Schubert This Is the Book That No One Knows

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About the author (2000)

John Ashbery was born on July 28, 1927 in Rochester, New York. He was educated at Harvard and Columbia universities and studied in Europe on a Fulbright Scholarship. Initially wishing to be a painter, then a musician, he has had a variety of careers including reference librarian and art critic. In the early 1950s, he was a copywriter with Oxford University Press and McGraw-Hill. His collection of poems, Turandot and other Poems, published in 1953, established his reputation as one of the leading American poets of his generation. Ashbery feels strongly influenced by film and other art forms. The abstract expressionist movement in art had a profound effect on his writing style. Frequently termed a philosophical poet, Ashbery's poems often deal with the mind and the connection of the reader. Ashbery has published several volumes of poetry, including Houseboat Days and Flow Chart. Highly regarded by critics, he received a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1976, all for Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. He received the Ambassador Book Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. In 2011, he won the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He also writes under the pseudonym Jonas Berry.

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