Ashbery's original, seminal Selected Poemscrowned the first half of a career that has largely defined American poetry since the middle of the 20th century. One could think of that first Selected, published in 1985, as the summation of Ashbery's philosophical period, in which the poet self-consciously interrogated the grip-or lack of one-language exerts on the world at large, most notably in poems like "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror." This new volume-beginning with poems from April Galleons (1987) and ending with Where Shall I Wander(2005)-presents the first panoramic view of Ashbery's second phase, in which he explores, celebrates, sends up and revels in the American vernacular. Encompassing the surreal ("You mop your forehead with a rose, recommending its thorns"), the tender ("Everything was spotless in the little house of our desire"), the self-deprecating ("There was I: a stinking adult") and the quietly, utterly haunting ("Those who came closest did not come close"), Ashbery seems to hit every possible note in his scattershot manner. Of particular interest are extended selections from the book-length works Flow Chart(1991) and Girls on the Run(1999). This is an essential book. Along with the original Selected(Penguin), we can now see the full impact of the most representative poet of the last 50 years. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poemsby John Ashbery
His long-awaited volume, a new selection of his later poems, spans ten major collections by one of America's most visionary and influential poets. Chosen by the author himself, the poems in Notes from the Air represent John Ashbery's best work from the past two decades, from the critically acclaimed April Galleons and Flow Chart to the 2005 National Book Award finalist Where Shall I Wander.
While Ashbery has long been considered a powerful force in twentieth-century culture, Notes from the Air demonstrates clearly how important and relevant his writing continues to be, well into the twenty-first century. Many of the books from which these poems are drawn are regularly taught in university classrooms across the country, and critics and scholars vigorously debate his newest works as well as his classics. He has already published four major books since the turn of the new millennium, and, although 2007 marks his eightieth birthday, this legendary literary figure continues to write fresh, new, and vibrant poetry that remains as stimulating, provocative, and controversial as ever.
Notes from the Air reveals, for the first time in one volume, the remarkable evolution of Ashbery's poetry from the mid-1980s into the new century, and offers an irresistible sampling of some of the finest work by this "national treasure."
- HarperCollins Publishers
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Meet the Author
John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, including Quick Question; Planisphere; Notes from the Air; A Worldly Country; Where Shall I Wander; and Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award. He lives in New York.
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