John Ashbery

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Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: June 18, 2024

John Ashbery

Introduction of John Ashbery (1927–2017) :

John Ashbery (1927-2017) was an acclaimed American poet, renowned for his innovative and influential contributions to contemporary poetry. Born in Rochester, New York, Ashbery developed a distinctive style characterized by its surrealism, abstract language, and exploration of the complexities of modern life. Over his prolific career, which spanned more than six decades, Ashbery received numerous prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1976 for his seminal collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. His work is celebrated for its intellectual depth and avant-garde approach, often challenging traditional poetic forms and encouraging readers to engage with the fluidity of meaning and perception. Ashbery’s legacy endures as a central figure in modern American poetry, continually inspiring and influencing new generations of poets.

Famous Poems by John Ashbery

1. The Instruction Manual

As I sit looking out of a window of the building
I wish I did not have to write the instruction manual on the uses of a new metal.
I look down into the street and see people, each walking with an inner peace, ….

2. The Painter

Sitting between the sea and the buildings
He enjoyed painting the sea’s portrait.
But just as children imagine a prayer ….

3. Just walking around

What name do I have for you?
Certainly there is no name for you
In the sense that the stars have names …

4. Soonest Mended

Barely tolerated, living on the margin
In our technological society, we were always having to be rescued
On the brink of destruction, like heroines in Orlando Furioso ….

5. Rivers and Mountains

On the secret map the assassins
Cloistered, the Moon River was marked
Near the eighteen peaks and the city …..

John Ashbery Biography

Early Life and Education

John Lawrence Ashbery was born on July 28, 1927, in Rochester, New York. He grew up on a farm in nearby Sodus, where he developed an early interest in literature and art. Ashbery attended Deerfield Academy and then went on to Harvard University, where he graduated with a degree in English in 1949. At Harvard, he was part of a circle of poets that included Kenneth Koch and Frank O’Hara, who would later become central figures in the New York School of poetry. He continued his studies at Columbia University, earning an M.A. in 1951.

Career and Major Works

After completing his education, Ashbery moved to New York City, where he immersed himself in the vibrant art and literary scenes. His first book of poems, Some Trees (1956), was selected by W.H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, marking the beginning of his influential career.

Over the next six decades, Ashbery published more than twenty volumes of poetry, along with plays, art criticism, and translations. His work is known for its innovative and experimental style, blending surrealism, stream of consciousness, and fragmented narratives.

List of Narrative Books

  1. Three Poems (1972)
  2. Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles 1957-1987 (1989)
  3. A Nest of Ninnies (1969)
  4. The Vermont Notebook (1975)
  5. Other Traditions (2000)

Awards and Achievements

John Ashbery received numerous prestigious awards and honors throughout his illustrious career, recognizing his significant contributions to contemporary poetry and literature. Here are some of his most notable accolades:

  1. Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1976)
  2. National Book Award for Poetry (1976)
  3. National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (1976)
  4. Bollingen Prize for Poetry (1985)
  5. Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (1992)

John Ashbery Death

John Ashbery, one of the most celebrated and influential American poets of the 20th century, passed away on September 3, 2017, at the age of 90. He died at his home in Hudson, New York. Ashbery’s death marked the end of a remarkable career that spanned more than six decades, during which he profoundly impacted the landscape of contemporary poetry with his innovative style and abstract, enigmatic verse.

Ashbery’s passing was widely mourned in the literary community. Tributes and obituaries highlighted his contributions to literature, his groundbreaking work in poetry, and the lasting influence he had on both peers and younger generations of poets. His legacy lives on through his extensive body of work, which continues to inspire and challenge readers and writers around the world.

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