The collage is a visual review and homage to John Ashbery’s poem “The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend” in his new collection, Breezeway. For a far more cogent response to Breezeway, read Mark Kerstetter’s typically perceptive commentary here. Continue reading
Today I wrote, “The spring is late this year.
In the early mornings there is hoarfrost on the water meadows.
And on the highway the frozen ruts are papered over with ice.”
The day was gloves.
How far from the usual statement
About time, ice—the weather itself had gone.
—John Ashbery (from The Skaters, IV)
In his Berlin story, Something About the Railway, Robert Walser wrote, “Nowadays, anywhere there is nature, trains are also found.” How true it is: almost all along its route, the best views of the Hudson between New York City and Poughkeepsie are from the train, not by foot. But there’s one place near to us where anyone on foot can have the ne plus ultra of views, weather permitting, of course. Continue reading
When invited to give the Norton Lectures at Harvard, John Ashbery related that he “was somewhat in the dark about” why. [OT 1]
Naturally, I did have a few theories, however. The first one that came to mind was that, since I am known as a writer of hermetic poetry, in the course of lecturing I might “spill the beans,” so to speak: that is, I might inadvertently or not let slip the key to my poetry, resolving this vexed question once and for all. [OT 1]
“Unfortunately,” he went on to say, “I’m not very good at ‘explaining’ my work.” [OT 1] Continue reading