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Collected Poems: 1991-2000

After his spectacular early career, in which he became one of the best-loved and most controversial poets of his time, and his radical and productive middle years, John Ashbery continued effortlessly finding new directions in the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, writing playfully, inventively. His language is exquisitely attuned to mundane reality, transforming it. Here in a single, substantial, authoritative, and helpfully annotated volume are seven complete books from this crucial period, starting with Flow Chart (1991), a tour de force that shows Ashbery's mastery of 'the entire orchestral potential of the English language,' as Helen Vendler put it. It complements Ashbery's earlier Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, offering a vision of the collective 'dream of everyday life that was our / beginning, and where we still live, out in the open, under clouds stacked up in a holding pattern / like pictures in a nineteenth-century museum.' The poems range across Ashbery's varied interests and obsessions - opera, film noir, French poetry, the visual arts. Everywhere is his boundless inventiveness, his pitch-perfect ear for American speech, his exuberant erudition. The book ends with twenty-six uncollected poems, among them 'Hoboken', a collage that pillages Roget's Thesaurus, and much else.
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Promotional Information

Published in collaboration with the Library of America to mark the poet's ninetieth birthday.

About the Author

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. His books of poetry include Breezeway; Quick Question; Planisphere; Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems, which was awarded the 2008 International Griffin Poetry Prize; A Worldly Country; Where Shall I Wander; and Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award. The winner of many prizes and awards both nationally and internationally, in 2011 he received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, and in 2012 he received a National Humanities Medal, presented by President Obama at the White House. He lived in New York until his death, aged ninety, in 2017.


'Praised as a magical genius, cursed as an obscure joker, John Ashbery writes poetry like no one else' The Independent

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