John Ashbery

American poetry after 1975

American Poetry after 1975
Duke University Press
a special issue of boundary 2
(Volume 36, Number 3, Fall 2009)American Poetry after 1975
Duke University Press
a special issue of boundary 2
(Volume 36, Number 3, Fall 2009)
Paperback - $14.00
0-8223-6719-X
[ISBN13 978-0-8223-6719-2]
225 pages

It's entirely on-line via University of Pennsylvania library e-resources under "boundary 2 / Duke University Press Journals":
http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:3262/current.dtl

The Duke University Press page for the book: link.

Contents:
Charles Bernstein / American Poetry After 1975: Editor’s Note / 1
Jim Rosenberg / Bios / The Logosphere / The Finite-Made Evolver Space /3
Peter Gizzi / Eclogues / 9
Christian Bök / Two Dots Over a Vowel / 11
Lytle Shaw / Docents of Discourse: The Logic of Dispersed Sites / 25
Tracie Morris / Rakim’s Performativity / 49
Jennifer Scappettone / Versus Seamlessness: Architectonics of
Pseudocomplicity in
Tan Lin’s Ambient Poetics / 63
Craig Dworkin / Hypermnesia / 77
Jonathan Skinner / Poetry Animal / 97
Herman Rapaport / A Liquid Hand Blossoms / 105
Kenneth Goldsmith / In Barry Bonds I See the Future of Poetry / 121
Joyelle McSweeney / Disabled Texts and the Threat of Hannah Weiner / 123
Brian Reed / Grammar Trouble / 133
Juliana Spahr / The ’90s / 159
Al Filreis / The Stevens Wars / 183
Nada Gordon / Not Ideas about the Bling but the Bling Itself / 203
Marjorie Perloff / “The Rattle of Statistical Traffic”: Citation and
Found Text in Susan
Howe’s The Midnight / 205
Elizabeth Willis / Lyric Dissent / 229
Tan Lin / SOFT INDEX (OF repeating PLACES, PEOPLE, AND WORKS) / 235
Benjamin Friedlander / After Petrarch (In the Rigging) / 241

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The abstract of my essay:

The Stevens Wars
Al Filreis

What reputation and influence has Wallace Stevens had in the years since 1975? The infamous Stevensean disaffection has tended to prohibit definitive legacy, and yet this, in the end, has been productive, forestalling closed arguments among poetics Lefts and Rights, keeping Stevens's work from theoretical alliances until past the point when such would fix its standing in contestations between, for example, theoretical as distinct from historical approaches. To the extent that Stevens can seem anything to anyone, the legacy is of little impact. The many imitations of Stevens's special rhetoric tend to riff on a single poem or idiomatic stance, quick-take attempts at posing in a particular ironic position, one abandoned as quickly as assumed. Among contemporary poets whose own writing contemplates Stevens's overall position, however, a larger pattern does emerge—two Stevenses. First, a meditative Stevens: unagonistic, verbally ruminative, romantic (but called "postromantic"), a repository of human responses, post-Christian yet lyric—a poet whose verse does not make truculent, discordant claims but rather "eke[s] out the mind," forming "the particulars of sounds." Secondly, a languaged Stevens: theoretical, serial, and nonnarrative, metapoetically radical, sometimes satirical (and antinarrative), always obsessive about the state of poetics and insisting on consciousness of the compositional mode as itself a pressure inducing the poem to be composed—a poet whose middle and late seriatic styles befit rather than reject the cyclonic modernist historical modes adopted early and briefly by Eliot, grandly and insistently by Pound, and later by Williams.

Ashbery actually explicates

Rare it is that John Ashbery explains one of his poems. But, in a radio interview in 1966, he did that just. He read "These Lacustrine Cities" and then went line by line offering various sorts of explanations - paraphrase, sources for phrases and words, a sense of the process of composition. Now we have released a PennSound podcast, #18 in our series, featuring this recording, which aired on WKCR. The podcast is 18 minutes long.

An introduction to basic New York School modes

an old mini-lecture prepared for an online course

For my survey of modern & contemporary American poetry (English 88) I once (1999) made a recording of a really basic mini-lecture on three fundamental types of New York School poems: anti-narrative, non-narrative, pastiche. The whole thing is plausible enough, although obviously there are more "types" and much more to say about pastiche. Recently we converted a RealAudio file of this recording and produced a new mp3, which I've linked to "chapter 8" of the course. So here is that old talk as an mp3.

The beginnings concept (PoemTalk #9)

John Ashbery, 'Crossroads in the Past'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Our PoemTalkers — this time, Gregory Djanikian, Tom Devaney and Jessica Lowenthal — gathered to talk about a late poem by John Ashbery, “Crossroads in the Past,” from his book Your Name Here (2000). Amid the usual Ashberyean ontological bounty, here’s a poem that disentangles the crossed lines of narrative middles and ends (and beginnings). Straightens things out, or at least imagines the goodness of such straightness. And indulges in a nostalgia for the way things were at the start.

Is it age — or the loss of a loved one — that draws an anti-narrative poet to beginnings at the end? That, in short, is the question we posed of this poem. And does such a thing undermine a career-long devotion to middles with implied pre-stories? The wind blows in the direction it blows, and can’t be “wrong.” What about a “relationship”? Can — or should — a relationship be talked back to its beginnings, a narrative housecleaning?

Jessica and Greg decided finally that the apparently definitive ending dead-ends in an obvious imagery and sentiment. Tom and Al disagreed, seeing the poem as thus a meta-poem: a poem about the poet who has reached a point where he must re-imagine “the beginnings concept” and who realizes its failure.

John Ashbery read this poem as a Kelly Writers House Fellow in the spring of 2002. We have video recordings of the reading and an interview/conversation moderated by Al Filreis.

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