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By John Ashbery

Witty but heartbreaking, conversational but richly lyrical, John Ashbery's 16th poetry assortment showcases a mastery uniquely his own.

And the celebs have been Shining initially seemed in 1994, towards the midpoint of a startlingly artistic interval in Ashbery's lengthy profession, within which the nice American poet released no fewer than 9 books in ten years. the gathering brings jointly greater than fifty compact, jewellike, intensely felt poems, together with the well known "Like a Sentence" ("How little we all know, / and once we comprehend it!") and the lyrical, deeply relocating thirteen-part identify poem well-known as one of many author's maximum. This assortment is Ashbery at his so much available, swish, and elegiac.

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Example text

Yet, if a harder reckoning be wanting, equal for dreamer and watcher alike, and the same for those who apportion the roads and those who follow them, panting, conception in perfect nullity is yours, in the end: the shadow of your presence, a colossus, divinity left gazing at us blinded. 40 5. First anguish; then exhaustion, the pangs of despairing assurance: the unappeasable thirst no water may ever diminish, wormwood of time made poisonous with durance. That lyre stretched for his dying! Abel made trial with his hand of his emaciate body.

50 7. The tidal salts drain on a living horizon, leaving a glare on the blemishing paper. The silence is mortal. Nobody answers. (For Joan Hutton Landis) 51 V.

FROM THE FIREHOUSE The Old Firehouse, just across the street from the new, on Paran Creek in North Bennington, Vermont, served as studio for Paul Terence Feeley, the gifted American painter, until his untimely death in 1965, when it was converted into a storehouse for his canvases and a residence for his wife; and more recently, a sub-let for friends. From the Firehouse (Homage to Paul Feeley) Living between two fires and two falls—a stairway of watery risers and treads above and below, holding the fish to its floor and the foam to the swallow's intaglio, an old Firehouse and a new—I think only of canvas, like a Bedouin.

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