Featured Post


I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

New Ashbery

 I'm reading the new Ashbery book, Parallel Movement of the Hands. He's been deceased for several years, but the archive includes unpublished or unfinished works, and these are being presented to us as "Five Unfinished Longer Works." They are a bit more interesting than the endless succession of books with very similar poems in them that he was publishing until the very end. He was always one of the most interesting practitioners of the long poem. The idea of unfinished works is very attractive in a writer like this. A poem promising 21 sections only has 18. Instead of changing the title to make it conform to the text, the editor has highlighted its incompleteness.  

The title comes from a (more or less complete poem) based on the titles of Czerny technical exercises for the piano. I like the idea of writing about music in this way, abstractly. The poems are not about the music or piano technique at all, except obliquely.  It is a good finger exercise for the poet.  


Andrew Shields said...

When I read one Ashbery poem (or section of a poem) per day until I was done with the two Library of America collected volumes, it was definitely the long poems that were the best.

Jonathan said...

I can see how that can be the case for some readers. His long poems allow him to do amazing things.