Treasure Island

John Ashbery

(28 July 1927 / Rochester, New York)

Quotations

  • ''I could say it's the happiest period of my life.
    It hasn't got much competition!''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Ongoing Story."
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  • ''The things that were coming to be talked about
    Have come and gone and are still remembered
    As being recent. There is a grain of curiosity
    At the base of some new thing, that unrolls
    Its question mark like a new wave on the shore.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Blue Sonata."
  • ''It has been played once more. I think you exist only
    To tease me into doing it, on your level, and then you aren't there
    Or have adopted a different attitude. And the poem
    Has set me softly down beside you. The poem is you.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Paradoxes and Oxymorons."
  • ''Though it seems improbable on the face of it
    You must master the huge retards and have faith in the slow
    Blossoming of haystacks, stairways, walls of convolvulus,
    Until the moon can do no more. Exhausted,
    You get out of bed. Your project is completed
    Though the experiment is a mess.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Other Cindy."
  • ''And songs climb out of the flames of the near campfires,
    Pale, pastel things exquisite in their frailness
    With a note or two to indicate it isn't lost,
    On them at least. The songs decorate our notion of the world
    And mark its limits, like a frieze of soap-bubbles.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Business Personals."
  • ''This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.
    Look at it talking to you.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Paradoxes and Oxymorons."
  • ''The contest ends at midnight tonight
    But you can submit again, and again.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Other Cindy."
  • ''The disquieting muses again: what are "leftovers"?''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Business Personals."
  • ''We are happy in our way of life.
    It doesn't make much sense to others. We sit about,
    Read, and are restless.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Parergon."
  • ''Like a canoe route across the great lake on whose shore
    One is left trapped, grumbling not so much at bad luck as
    Because only this one side of experience is ever revealed.
    And that meant something.''
    John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Other Cindy."

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Daffy Duck In Hollywood

Something strange is creeping across me.
La Celestina has only to warble the first few bars
Of "I Thought about You" or something mellow from
Amadigi di Gaula for everything--a mint-condition can
Of Rumford's Baking Powder, a celluloid earring, Speedy
Gonzales, the latest from Helen Topping Miller's fertile
Escritoire, a sheaf of suggestive pix on greige, deckle-edged
Stock--to come clattering through the rainbow trellis
Where Pistachio Avenue rams the 2300 block of Highland

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