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John Ashbery (1927–2017)

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Over the weekend, Pulitzer Prize winning poet John Ashbery passed away at the age of ninety. “Part of what makes Ashbery so absurdly good is his faith in the essential goodness of the absurd,” wrote Matthew Bevis in the June 2017 issue of Harper’s Magazine. “He’s one of our most truly encouraging poets on account of his willingness to let himself go, to let the social self (call it ‘character’ or ‘personality’) deliquesce into the anarchic, labile, inner chemistry of selfhood.” Below is a selection of Ashbery’s work, which began appearing in Harper’s in 1969.

“Whatever the Old Man Does is Always Right,” “Commotion of the Birds,” “Featurette,” and “But Seriously” (with an introduction by Ben Lerner), August 2016

• “Absent Agenda,” October 2010

• “The Water Inspector,” February 2000

• “Drab Shutters,” October 1987

• “Clouds,” December 1969

Read more of John Ashbery’s work in Harper’s here, along with Matthew Bevis’s essay here.

 

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