Saturday, February 23, 2008

Thinking, I Think, About Ashbery

Dave Lull draws my attention to this interview with John Ashbery. It is heroically unrevealing. Here, for example, is how he defines his method - 'I continue to write poetry, and I wait until it seems like there's enough to make a book, and then I put it all together and send it out.' How else could he write poetry? I sometimes wonder if I am quite sane liking Marilynne Robinson AND John  Ashbery. It is impossible to imagine two more different writers - or, indeed, human beings. Ashbery can upset people of taste and judgment - liking Ashbery is the one fault Clive James finds with me in his otherwise flattering words about me on his web site. But I do, so there you go. I also wonder what happened to my own interview with him which seems to have vanished as if it never happened. That's a pity because, in the course of talking to me in his room at the Savoy, he said, 'I think I think but I don't think thinking is what it is thought to be', a fine sentiment.
PS Well here is a marvellous outcome. David Kermani emails from John Ashbery's email address to tell me that my interview is on the Carcanet web site - and so it is!

4 comments:

  1. What's wrong with Ashbery?, one of my favourite poets. "Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror", his poem about the Parmigianino self portrait, for example, is a wonderful piece of work, among many others. I'll need to check out the interview, thanks for the link.

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  2. What's wrong with Ashberry?, one of my favourite poets. "Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror", about the Parmigianino self portrait is a wonderful piece of work, among many others. I'll check out the interview, thanks for the link.

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  3. i've just started reading Ashbery. i can't make head nor tail or his poems but when read aloud they compel attendance. It's strange how, reading aloud, you can quickly tell if a poet is any good even if the words are opaque. i also - amusingly - find my voice & accent changing when i read him, which also happens with Elizabeth Bishop.

    Heroically unrevealed we should all be to some extent. 'Poetry should resist the understanding almost successfully" - Wallace St; the self likewise.

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  4. by the way that pic of you on CJ's site makes you look like a fucking psycho!

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