Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Saturday, January 13, 2001
548 West 22nd Street, NYC, 4:00pm

John Ashbery

Poem: The American

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York in 1927, and lives in New York City and Hudson, New York. He has written twenty collections of poems including Your Name Here (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); Girls on the Run: A Poem (1999); Wakefulness (1998); Can You Hear, Bird (1995); And the Stars Were Shining (1994); Hotel Lautréamont (1992); Flow Chart (1991); April Galleons (1987); and A Wave (1984), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. In 1976 his Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His collection Some Trees was selected by W.H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series in 1956. He has also written Reported Sightings (1989), a book of art criticism; a collection of plays; and a novel, A Nest of Ninnies (1969) with James Schuyler; and edited The Best American Poetry 1988. Other Traditions, a collection of lectures from his Norton Lectures from 1989–1990 is forthcoming from Harvard University Press. Ashbery was the first English-language poet to win the Grand Prix de Biennales Internationales de Poesie (Brussels) and has also received the Bollingen Prize, the English Speaking Union Prize, and numerous other Awards and Honors. He is the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr., Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College.

Robert Creeley

Poem: Thinking

Robert Creeley (b. 1926) is a New Englander by birth and disposition although he has spent most of his life in other parts of the world including Guatemala, British Columbia, France and Spain. In the 1950s he taught at Black Mountain College and also edited The Black Mountain Review, a crucial gathering place for alternative senses of writing at that time. Charles Olson, Robert Duncan and Edward Dorn are among the company he met there. Subsequently he taught at the University of New Mexico and in 1966 went to the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he still teaches. Although most identified as a poet (For Love, Pieces, Windows and Selected Poems are examples of his many collections), he has written a significant body of prose including a novel, The Island, and a collection of stories, The Gold Diggers and is also known for the diversity of his collaborations with artists outside his own authority. Despite the fact that he has been emphasized as a master of formal possibilities, his art has no impulse to enclose itself in the literary solely, or to move apart from the common terms of the given world. Coming of age in the years of the Second World War, he feels his world has been one insistently involved with the unrelieved consequence of being literally human—the cultish “existentialism” of his youth grown universal.