Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ashbery Explains His Own Poetry

I can’t help but smile at John Ashbery:

"For me, poetry has its beginning and ending outside thought. Thought is certainly involved in the process; indeed, there are times when my work seems to me to be merely a recording of my thought processes without regard to what they are thinking about. If this is true, then I would also like to acknowledge my intention of somehow turning these processes into poetic objects, a position perhaps kin to Dr. Williams’s 'No ideas but in things,' with the caveat that, for me, ideas are also things."
- John Ashbery, Other Traditions, (Harvard, 2000)

He is hugely entertaining when he writes about poetry, even if I don’t have the capacity to know what he’s on about half the time. He likes to wind people up though, and his observations are rarely dull.

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