John Ashbery

Jess Cotton


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Reaktion Books
1 April 2023
ISBN: 9781789143911
224 pages

From the publisher

Mysterious, esoteric, baffling - John Ashbery is notorious for the seeming difficulty of his work. But Ashbery is also entertaining, humorous and charming, and responsive to his shifting social and political contexts. This biography charts his emergence from a minor avant-garde figure to the most important poet of his generation. In this entertaining account, Jess Cotton provides a legible and accessible map of Ashbery's work that draws connections between the poetry, the New York art and literary world and the political climate of the middle decades of the twentieth century. It makes the case for a more approachable, enjoyable and engaged Ashbery and will appeal to both students and the general reader, as well as anyone interested in American poetry, queer lives and twentieth-century history.