Selected Prose

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University of Michigan Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 326 pages
"By the end of the book, Ashbery has laid out not only a course in contemporary poetics but a portrait of the artist teaching himself to become a thoroughly Modernist poet---in small bites, easy to savor, easy to digest."
---Los Angeles Times Book Review

"This is a marvelous book by one of our greatest poets. Reading John Ashbery's Selected Prose is like listening to a brilliant talker who not only keeps us entertained and laughing, but who also has wise things to say about all sorts of interesting subjects."
---Charles Simic

"At last! Many of the fugitive pieces collected in this volume---on Gertude Stein, on Frank O'Hara, on Marianne Moore or Adrienne Rich---published as many of them were in out-of-the way places, have already become collectors' items, providing fascinating---and often startling--- assessments of their subjects as well as new insight into Ashbery himself. Now here they are between two covers, along with many hitherto unknown pieces on subjects ranging from Michel Butor to Mary Butts, Jane Freilicher to Mark Ford. For anyone who cares about the contemporary poetry/art scene, this is an indispensable collection."
---Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University


Selected Prose contains a broad selection of texts by internationally acclaimed poet and critic John Ashbery. This third collection of Ashbery's critical writings dramatically expands the terrain covered by the first two, Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles 1957-1987 and Other Traditions (first presented as the Norton Lectures at Harvard). These essays on writers, artists, filmmakers and the life of a poet provide insight into Ashbery's evolution as one of the major poets in English. Ashbery's criticism is as essential to the cultural history of the twentieth century as was that of T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden. His unique sensibility has had a profound impact on the literature and arts of our time, and his influence is certain to be felt for decades to come. Editor Eugene Richie's introduction provides a meaningful context for fifty years' worth of critical and creative prose by one of America's finest poets.
 

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Review: Selected Prose

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

The essays and criticism selected here provide an intriguing glimpse of Ashbery rarely seen in his poetry. Although I felt distanced because of the obscure art, film and literature he discussed, I was often rewarded by his casual prose style and intellectual curiosity. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Gertrude Stein
11
A Note on Pierre Reverdy
19
On Raymond Roussel
33
Introduction to Raymond Roussels In Havana
46
A Conversation with Kenneth Koch
55
Jasper Johns
68
Frank OHara 19261966
78
On the Poetry of F T Prince
178
Nicholas Moore
191
Raymond Roussel
197
Introduction to a Reading by James Schuyler
208
Introduction to a Reading by Michael Palmer
216
Introduction to Gerrit Henrys The Mirrored Clubs of Hell
223
Review of Mark Fords Landlocked
231
Introduction to Pierre Martorys The Landscape Is behind
237

Giorgio de Chirico
88
Jane Bowles
94
Jorge Luis Borges
100
Marianne Moore
108
Comment on Lee Harwoods The White Room
116
Italo Calvino
124
Louisa Matthiasdottir
134
Rivette Masterpieces?
148
Kenward Elmslie
159
Frank OHara
171
Robert Frost Medal Address
243
Introduction to Robert Mapplethorpes Pistils
252
Introduction to Trevor Winkfields Pageant
259
Introduction to a Reading by Charles North
267
Lynn Davis
276
Introduction to a Reading by Tony Towle
285
Foreword to Mark Fords Soft Sift
291
On the Poetry of Joan Murray
296
Index
311
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

John Ashbery is Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College

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