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

by John Ashbery

‘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

by John Ashbery

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

by John Ashbery

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

by John Ashbery

‘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. 

The Instruction Manual

by John Ashbery

‘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?

by John Ashbery

‘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. 

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry, straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox