An Unknown Poet Addresses A Complaint To John Ashbery, Recently Deceased Poem by Dennis Ryan

An Unknown Poet Addresses A Complaint To John Ashbery, Recently Deceased

Wednesday afternoon, January 23,2019 at 4: 05 p.m.; Thursday morning, January 24,2019 at 10: 49 a.m.; Friday morning, February 15 at 10: 40 a.m.

'To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I...'
- John Ashbery, 'Some Trees'

Okay, the world is largely incomprehensible;
agreed; is larger than you and me; agreed;

but you wasted a lot of time, yours
and mine, living in Paris off a parental

allowance to accommodate this idea
and there are only so many allowances

made for this kind of poetry. Obscurity.
Later was far different: the way you wielded

words in 'Self Portrait In A Convex Mirror'
where meaning is everything—you dipped

your arms up to the elbows, farther up:
the soul trapped in its place, unable to move,

a brief moment of attention. Desist.
Allow me to draw out the implications.

You make more of content... 'content'
you repeat in French—its provenance

comes home and we are happy? No?
No more tennis court oaths. Forbear.

Friday, February 15, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: communication,complain,death of a friend,experimental,happiness,happy,poetry,psychology,readers,relationship
The speaker, an unknown poet, complains to John Ashbery about the difficulty of reading Ashbery's second two books of poetry, The Tennis Court Oath and Rivers and Mountains, realizing that Ashbery has written some very memorable poems later, including " Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" , among others.The speaker does not mention what he also knows: that poets write poems as they so choose, which reflect the poet's concern(s) at a particular time and place, all of us being subject to the excegencies of time and place.
Dopak Adhya 15 February 2019

Good comment & well written.....

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Dennis Ryan 15 February 2019

Dear Dopak Adhya, thank you for your comment. Ashbery's poems, especially the early ones, are difficult to understand at times despite our best efforts.

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Dennis Ryan

Dennis Ryan

Wellsville, New York
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