Entries tagged with John Ashbery

Planisphere, by John Ashbery. New York: HarperCollins/Ecco Press, 2009.

There is one poem in Planisphere I would love to have written. I see it as an apogee of Ashbery’s art, toward which all combinations of rhetoric and slippage, on their elliptical path, tend. This is language art at its finest. I’ll leave it at that:


You don’t see so much of these anymore,
not see so much of this. There were others
who saw more. Innocence is cool,
he offered. Now not so much.
Innocence is the finish. Through all our
wide day it stressed. It was foolish to argue,
idle to come undone. The post arrived.
It all failed. All failed somewhere. [104]

from “Ashbery’s Historicism: 
Nonsite Hypotaxis and Modernity Critique
in The Double Dream of Spring

Presented at John Ashbery in Paris: International Conference
12 March 2010, Institut Charles V, Université Paris Diderot

What makes The Double Dream of Spring both unique and exemplary for Ash­bery’s work is its positive critique of social modernity, rather than a mere ironic reversal of modernism, at the intersection of critical theory, poststructuralism, and romanticism. In the figural space of his works, Ashbery inverts of the poetics of radical particularity—seen in terms of an aesthetic of the fragment and the condition of reification under capitalism—that relocates what Altieri terms its “aesthetic agency” in an interplay of “partial local coherence” that at once proposes and disposes of any horizon of totality. … More

“Ashbery’s Historicism: Regions of Modernity
          in The Double Dream of Spring

Workshop Session III, 14:30–17:00
Friday, 12 March 2010

John Ashbery in Paris: International Conference
11–13 March 2010
Institut Charles V, Université Paris Diderot

For the complete program, see: