I find that even as I attempt to deploy theory descriptively from outside the poetry, I am never far from the deranged inkling that Ashbery
has already used (and/or defused) said theory from within.(19) However, whereas in the case of Molesworth we could at least posit some plausible motive, with the theorists of vengeance we are really stitching with air.
Barbara Johnson may well have had in mind Ashbery
's "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" in speaking of the deconstructivist willingness to focus on what she calls the "warring forces of signification within the text itself" (qtd.
Born in Rochester, New York, Ashbery
grew up on a farm in nearby Sodus.
O'Hara was one of the most distinguished members of the New York School of poets, which also included James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch, and John Ashbery
. Collected Poems was published in 1971: Collected Plays appeared in 1978.
"Lost and Found and Lost Again": In Memoriam John Ashbery
Among their topics are theories of humor and modern poetry, humor and authority in Ezra Pound's Cantos, laughing in the gallery: Melvin Tolson's refusal to hush, poetry and good humor: Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, Phyllis McGinly: defending housewifery with a laugh, and humor and autobiography in John Ashbery
's poetry and prose.
When John Ashbery
died last year, the New York press reacted as if an epoch had come to a close.
The book uncovers how poets including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Frank OAEHara, and John Ashbery
engaged with technical and media cultures and how they expressed their anxieties about emerging technology such as nuclear weapons and nuclear power, computer-based automation, communication technologies, and the reach of television and radio.
Karin Roffman, The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery
's Early Life.
Very few disciples of Ashbery
have come so close to equaling the mater's ability to coax a sense of mythic import out of personal life, using only irony and apparent, though belied, flippancy.
Examine any of her filler-column hagiographies like "A new collection of John Ashbery
's work and other best poetry for September."
When John Ashbery
died last summer, I was reminded of the novel he co-wrote with James Schuyler, A Nest of Ninnies, which remains largely unknown though it is one of the best post-modern novels.