john ashbery | the couple in the next room

26 11 2007


Illustration: Jean-Claude Claeys

Poetry Dispatch No.153 | January 18, 2007


Why I don’t read John Ashbery and would never buy another book of his. Norbert Blei


The Couple in the Next Room by John Ashbery

She liked the blue drapes. They made a star
At the angle. A boy in leather moved in.
Later they found names from the turn of the century
Coming home one evening. The whole of being
Unknown absorbed into the stalk. A free
Bride on the rails warning to notice other
Hers and the great graves that outwore them
Like faces on a building, the lightning rod
Of a name calibrated all their musing differences.

Another day. Deliberations are recessed In an iron-blue chamber of that afternoon On which we wore things and looked well at A slab of business rising behind the stars.




“Houseboat Days is Ashbery’s very best book, with many astonishing poems in it, some transcending even Ashbery’s most beautiful earlier work. He and Elizabeth Bishop are our two living contemporaries who should be beyond all critical dispute.” – Harold Bloom


“Ashbery is astonishingly original, and though his man¬nerisms have been widely imitated, he himself has imitated no one.” – Edmund White, Bookletter


“The sheer range of Ashbery’s style is unparalleled among contemporary writers.” – Fred Moramarco. American Poetry Review


I am not astonished by poetry that speaks of nothing but artifice to only the poet and academia. Norbert Blei, Poetry Dispatch


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