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John Ashbery

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How to Begin to Understand John Ashbery

We are used to hearing of poets so private they speak for all of us. We are not used to hearing that John Ashbery is among them. Anyone who has ever been baffled by Ashbery’s work will understand the temptation to conclude that here is a poet so private he is truly private, so difficult he is truly inaccessible. But to arrive at that dead end is exasperating, if only because the reputation leads you to expect much more.
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Emily Skillings and John Yau: John Ashbery’s “Parallel Movement of the Hands: Five Unfinished Longer Works” (Re-air)

Editor/poet Emily Skillings and poet/critic John Yau speak about an iconic poet of the 21st century, John Ashbery, and his posthumous book, “Parallel Movement of the Hands: Five Unfinished Longer Works.” They discuss his influence on poetry, his knowledge of the craft of poetry, and his deep love for movies. Cinema gave Ashbery a world to live in; he adored Rinty, the dog known as Rin Tin Tin. Different from anyone who preceded him, thrilling and profound, the most playful writer who ever lived, Ashbery made incomprehension seem exciting, and he enjoyed playing the game called writing.
Picture for Emily Skillings and John Yau: John Ashbery’s “Parallel Movement of the Hands: Five Unfinished Longer Works” (Re-air)