In Which We Round Up Recent Attention & Affection for the Only John Ashbery
The poet John Clare made the rapid transfer of the present believable, wrote John Ashbery in an introduction to the central, off-center Clare in Other Traditions, since for Clare—a minor key whose significant influence on Ashbery belied such stature—"experiencing was the same as telling." One did not feel transported from "the squishy scene," wrote J.A., but "pressed further down into it." We too feel pressed further down into it, if we can render that "it" as anything and everything squishy or scenic that has to do with the central, off-center Ashbery, who died on Sunday at the age of 90. From what we hear, he was happily writing even into last week.
Here then is our attempt at a believable, rapid transfer of the present: a roundup of the latest tributes, remembrances, anecdotes, critical considerations, reprinted interviews and reviews, and much else related to the work and life of the writer, poet, and all-around gem we all miss (with more to come, surely—it is the Internet, after all).
National & International Obituaries
Los Angeles Times (AP Story)
Remembrances From Friends, Colleagues, Former Students
"his love of impishness was everywhere — he’d light up talking about Ern Malley, or the crazy text on a Dr. Bronner’s bottle — and his world of elegant maniacs — Artaud, Roussel, Frank of course — stayed visible just across the water."
"If you could find the impossible space where Franz Kafka overlapped with the Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, John would be sitting there happily, grinning like the Cheshire cat."
"Some of his friends called him Ashes. I favored JA in part because of his brilliant early poem 'The Picture of Little JA in a Prospect of Flowers,' the title of which was itself a lift from a poem by Andrew Marvell."
Poems & Interviews
Publishers Weekly: "The 10 Best John Ashbery Poems" (published in June)
NYT selects Ashbery poems of note (compiled by Maggie Astor)
David Spittle talked to Ashbery about his love for the movies upon the opening of Harvard Film Archive's 2009 "John Ashbery at the Movies"
Reflections on the Work
Recent Press & Reviews
Patrick James Dunagan reviewed Karin Roffman's biography, The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery's Early Life (The Rumpus, Sept. 1, 2017)
Double Change's Ashbery dossier, "L'oeil de boeuf," published in December 2001, features writing by Harry Mathews, Trevor Winkfield, Mark Ford, Frank O'Hara, Pierre Alféri, David Kermani, and Ashbery himself (in French, pdf download)
"90 Lines for John Ashbery's 90th Birthday": On the occasion of Ashbery's 90th birthday, Literary Hub invited 90 of his dearest friends, collaborators, and admirers to pick a favorite line from Ashbery's oeuvre and write about it in 90 words or fewer
"A DREAM OF THIS ROOM: A Created Spaces Portfolio of Works on John Ashbery’s Textual and Domestic Environments" includes gorgeous writing by Ashbery's husband, David Kermani, among many others, on J.A.'s domestic spaces: the library, the home, the cinema (Rain Taxi, edited by Micaela Morrissette)