John Ashbery

John Ashbery was an American poet who also worked as an art critic. He’s one of the most important American poets of his generation. He’s been compared to some of the greatest American poets of all time, like T.S. Eliot and Walt Whitman. He published 20 volumes of poetry throughout his lifetime and won the Pulitzer Prize.

And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name

‘And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name’ by John Ashbery is about poetry as an art form to express what’s in a creator’s mind. This piece focuses chiefly on the role of art and its nature.

Forties Flick

Published in John Ashbery’s award-winning poetry collection, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), the poem ‘Forties Flick’ is a postmodern, nostalgic lyric on film noir of the “classic period.” This piece vividly portrays a trademark scene of Hollywood crime dramas of the 1940s.

Hard Times

Published in Shadow Train (1981), John Ashbery’s ‘Hard Times’ is about the poet’s take on the modern world and its future. It showcases people’s ignorance of the issues that troubles Ashbery the most.

Knocking Around

‘Knocking Around’ by John Ashbery is a thoughtful and image-rich contemporary poem about life. The four stanzas use a variety of examples of figurative language to describe the lights and darks or the days and nights, or life. 

Paradoxes and Oxymorons

‘Paradoxes and Oxymorons’ by John Ashbery invites the reader to think about meaning in language through highlighting contradictions.

The Instruction Manual

‘The Instruction Manual’ by John Ashbery is poem that is constructed to express the struggles of a creative thinker in a factual, mundane task.

What is Poetry?

‘What is Poetry?’ by John Ashbery is a complex poem about poetry and what exactly it is. It uses Ashbery’s traditional obscure language and meaning. 

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