Three FARMS dotted with various punctuation and a few hanging words — the only remaining, yet distinctive, characters of three short poems by John Ashbery — fenced in (along with various photocopy noise) by musical staves. A fragment of each poem casts moonglow down on the constellated marks below, which sparsely outline the poem’s transposed typographic space. In “Farm,” Ashbery writes:
… the geometry remains,
A thing like nudity …
Poem scumbles whitish page, breaks through in so many little ways, creates an opening when dense opacity (huh?) gives way to oh, what’s this? — becoming immediacy: suddenly all the world is close at hand, pulsing darkly. For my least part, I take it down. This is how John’s poetry has struck me, and this is music as he has given it to me, again and again. The way a typed mark occasionally breaks paper and lets in light, as indeed happens in the FARM pieces, each poem’s notation literally imprinting the world beyond — the space and time that we occupy, unveiled by dark light of the poem.
John Ashbery and the arts
Thomas Devaney Marcella Durand