Tag Archives: John Ashbery

In Sicilia: Palazzo Abatellis

Courtyard, Palazzo Abatellis

Courtyard, Palazzo Abatellis

The Palazzo Abatellis, along with so much of Palermo’s Kalsa District (the old Arab quarter), was damaged extensively by Allied bombing in WWII. As Jeremy Dummett writes: Continue reading

Of Cabbages and Kings


So much has passed through my mind this morning
That I can give you but a dim account of it
—John Ashbery, The Skaters

These lines from John Ashbery’s The Skaters are among my favorites, for good reason. I keep thinking to write about something among my several ongoing projects, when next I know, I’m on to something else. So, I’m afraid, this is a bit of a miscellany, likely of no interest to anyone but me, but an attempt, at least, to record some of the “dim account” before even that is lost. Continue reading

Breezeway Homage No. 10, “We have to live out our precise experimentation.”

"We have to live out our precise experimentation." Susan Scheid (2015)

“We have to live out our precise experimentation.” Susan Scheid (2015)

This collage, the last in the series, pays homage to the title poem “Breezeway” in John Ashbery’s newest collection. One is always guided, if not controlled, by one’s materials. I had no red shutters, no Batman, and no whipped cream; there were scores of other things I did not have—but what I do have is the spirit of the poem to guide me. As I chose images and cut and pasted, it struck me that Ashbery is, at bottom, an optimistic man, with a head full of wonder, wit, and whimsy and a limitless capacity to create. Continue reading

Breezeway Homage No. 9, The Pie District

The Pie District, Susan Scheid (2015)

The Pie District, Susan Scheid (2015)

The collage takes its name from the poem “The Pie District” in John Ashbery’s collection Breezeway. Many of Ashbery’s lifelong preoccupations and motifs are present in this poem, or so it seems to me. Just as one glimpse, in reading the second stanza, I think of What Is Poetry: “In school/All the thought got combed out,” and from Soonest Mended, this: Continue reading

Breezeway Homage No. 8, “Own the blankness.”

"Own the blankness." Susan Scheid (2015)

“Own the blankness.” Susan Scheid (2015)

The collage pays homage to John Ashbery’s poem “Heading Out” in the volume Breezeway. John Ashbery’s poem “Auburn-Tinted Fences,” in his volume Quick Questionincludes the word “glacis.After reading the poem at an Interview hosted by Al Filreis, February 12, 2013, [item 3 at ~4:10], Ashbery quipped, “I wonder if what I was really trying to do was to fit the word glacis into a poem. I’m not entirely sure what it means.” [listen to the audio here]  I suspect the same might be true for “sockdolager,” which Ashbery uses in “Heading Out.” “Heading Out” is, itself, a sockdolager of a poem, about which this collage offers but a glancing glimpse. Continue reading