Larry Rivers, “Portrait of John Ashbery” (1962)
This past Sunday, September 4, brought the very sad news that John Ashbery had passed away at the age of 90. Ashbery is generally regarded as the greatest and most influential living American poet, so it is not surprising that the last few days have seen an outpouring of grief and praise from all corners of the literary community, and a slew of fine obituaries and tributes (I’ve collected many of these below). To accompany their obituary, the New York Times also asked me to suggest a few favorite shorter poems to accompany their obituary for Ashbery, which you can see here.
Even though he had just turned 90 in July, it somehow felt as if Ashbery would always be here, like crazy weather (“falling forward one minute, lying down the next”) – churning out a new book every year or two, exhibiting…
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