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Ludic Eloquence: On John Ashbery's Recent Poetry

Ludic Eloquence: On John Ashbery's Recent Poetry ROGER GILBER T Ludic Eloquence: On John Ashbery’s Recent Poetry What have we proved? That we don’t have the one idea Worth having, that all else is beneath us, If within our grasp? But no, it should be in some book Perhaps, the book one has never read: there it keeps Its high literacy like a pearl: no point in displaying it, It’s too eloquent, too gracious, for these times At least. “Winter Weather Advisory,” April Galleons “All the learned doctors in the world will never come to a clear under- standing of his madness, because he’s plainly an off-again on-again mad- man, shot full of lucid streaks.” Don Quijote, volume 2, chapter 18 remarkable phenomenon in recent American writing has gone largely unnoticed. A major poet, now eighty, has over the last sixteen years published at a rate few poets half his age could match. To put the matter in purely quantitative terms, since 1991 John Ashbery has issued eight major collections of poetry, two book-length poems, and three volumes of critical prose—the equivalent of an entire career’s output for many poets. The nine poetry volumes alone total 1,210 pages, more than the sum of all his previous http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

Ludic Eloquence: On John Ashbery's Recent Poetry

Contemporary Literature , Volume 48 (2) – Jul 25, 2007

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949

Abstract

ROGER GILBER T Ludic Eloquence: On John Ashbery’s Recent Poetry What have we proved? That we don’t have the one idea Worth having, that all else is beneath us, If within our grasp? But no, it should be in some book Perhaps, the book one has never read: there it keeps Its high literacy like a pearl: no point in displaying it, It’s too eloquent, too gracious, for these times At least. “Winter Weather Advisory,” April Galleons “All the learned doctors in the world will never come to a clear under- standing of his madness, because he’s plainly an off-again on-again mad- man, shot full of lucid streaks.” Don Quijote, volume 2, chapter 18 remarkable phenomenon in recent American writing has gone largely unnoticed. A major poet, now eighty, has over the last sixteen years published at a rate few poets half his age could match. To put the matter in purely quantitative terms, since 1991 John Ashbery has issued eight major collections of poetry, two book-length poems, and three volumes of critical prose—the equivalent of an entire career’s output for many poets. The nine poetry volumes alone total 1,210 pages, more than the sum of all his previous

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Jul 25, 2007

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