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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Other traditionsUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
This engaging set of essays by Ashbery, the much-celebrated American poet, was originally a set of lectures at Harvard. The essays are not hermetic. They explore and--with great ease--reveal the lives ... Read full review
Review: Other TraditionsUser 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
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