Synopses & Reviews
With this volume, The Library of America inaugurates a collected edition of the works of America?s preeminent living poet. Beginning with Some Trees
in 1956, John Ashbery has charted a profoundly original and individual course that has opened up pathways for subsequent generations of poets. At once hermetic and exuberantly curious, meditative and unnervingly funny, dreamlike and steeped in everyday realities, and alive to every nuance of American speech, these are poems that constantly discover new worlds within language. This first volume of the collected Ashbery includes the complete texts of his first twelve books, including such groundbreaking collections as Rivers and Mountains, Three Poems, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
(which won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1975), and Houseboat Days
. It also features an unprecedented gathering of more than sixty previously uncollected poems written over a period of four decades, a rare treasure trove for poetry lovers. This volume is a landmark portrait of a modern master.
"The first half of a projected two-volume set, this major book, the first collection from Library of America by a living poet, offers a view of Ashbery's artistic development over many decades. Ashbery, now 80, is celebrated for his varied, often elliptical style, which, though verging on the incomprehensible at times, has consistently delighted readers and critics. This volume contains all of Ashbery's books up through 1987's April Galleons; it begins with the Yale Younger Poets Prize winning Some Trees (1956), chosen by Auden, and includes Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), which won all three major American book awards. Other notable inclusions are the complete text of The Vermont Notebook, with illustrations by Joe Brainard, and an ample group of uncollected poems. Watching Ashbery's art grow from the slippery romanticism and verbal hijinks of the early poems through the philosophical, if sideways, inquiry of the '70s, to the chattier, colloquial period inaugurated in the early '80s, is arresting. Though Ashbery has confounded and inspired in seemingly equal measure, he is, according to both his admirers and critics, the towering figure in contemporary American poetry. This volume follows on the heels of this past April's Notes from the Air: Collected Later Poems. (Oct). This year's bounty of yuletide fiction is a mixed bag some big-name authors, a few duds and a couple of keepers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)