Read Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery Free Online
Book Title: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror|
The author of the book: John Ashbery
Date of issue: 1975
ISBN 13: 9780670632831
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 517 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.9
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Well, I mean, GOD. You know? So beautiful. But also Ashbery sizing up the same kind of moral question over and over a dozen times in the space of a poem, and with dozens of poems (including the formidable and exhausting kind of index of ideas in the title poem) it just wrung me utterly dry.
I could be completely wrong in my interpretation (Dana says: I could just be talking out of my ass) or doing the most pre-emptory surface reading. All this has happened before. (Particularly since Dana says that the first time she read this book -- at my age -- she sensed something very profound was happening but couldn't get a handle on what it was. And I'm all OH YEAH TOTALLY GOT THIS NO PROBS GUYS.)
Still, Ashbery seems to be saying something authentic about the experience of being human--looking around at all the beauty, all the time, the most pedestrian obvious kind of beauty, the relentless surge of the physical world: dragonflies and tidepools and dirigibles and Queen Anne's Lace, all the time--and feeling suffocated. There's some essence, some meaning that just can't be sussed by the sum of all the world's physical parts. You're mired in all that gorgeous flotsam and jetsam, all those overcoats and scrambled eggs, beef and calico, but you can never get past it into something permanent that says ANYTHING about ANYTHING.
"Are you sure this is what the pure day/ with its standing light intends?"
Well sometimes it's enough, and sometimes it isn't, and sometimes it's all too much, but it is what it is. Thanks, John Ashbery, and goodbye.
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Read information about the authorJohn Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia, and he traveled as a Fulbright Scholar to France in 1955. Best known as a poet, he has published more than twenty collections, most recently A Worldly Country (Ecco, 2007). His Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (Viking, 1975) won the three major American prizes: the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and an early book, Some Trees, was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. He has served as executive editor of Art News and as the art critic for New York magazine and Newsweek. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1988 to 1999. The winner of many prizes and awards, both nationally and internationally, he has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and was a MacArthur Fellow from 1985 to 1990. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in New York, and since 1990 he has been the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard.
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