lørdag den 29. juli 2017

90 x 90 til den 90-årige

På lithub.com har de bedt 90 "friends, collaborators, and admirer" vælge en yndlings-Ashbery-linje og skrive 90 ord eller mindre om den, her er LINK til det hele, og her er de første 6 linjer + kommentarer:

"Damiano Abeni 
Seeming is almost as good as being, sometimes
–“Commotion of the Birds,” Commotion of the Birds (2016)
In this line of the title poem of his latest collection to date, lightness and heaviness are perfectly balanced, in a 100 percent Ashbery mode: you can look at it and simply laugh, enjoying the baffling irony of “almost” and “sometimes”; or you can gloomily think of our narcissistic era of fakeness and instant gratification, and perceive that maybe, just maybe, he’s telling us that Western “Civilization” is doomed. And you’ll be right and wrong at the same time, as always happens when you fall into John’s magnificent web.

Michael Almereyda
Anything can change as fast as it wants to, and in doing so may pass through a more or less terrible phase, but the true terror is in the swiftness of changing, forward or backward, slipping just beyond our control.
–“The Lonedale Operator,” A Wave (1984)
The sentence appears at a point in this fairly discursive prose poem when the narrator, recounting the first film he ever saw, flashes forward to describe a movie encountered when he was older. His memory blurs, incurring a sudden slide and plunge into wider speculation. A sense of wonder and dread fill the poem like dark water filling a ship. As ever, Ashbery simultaneously describes reality and calls it into question, drawing us to consider a larger order—or disorder—encircling our tame and tidy thoughts and spiraling beyond them.

Charles Alteri
That there is so much to tell now, really now.
–“As We Know,” As We Know (1979)
I love this line because of the brilliant contrast between “now” as a descriptive term and “really now” as an expression of urgency that brings out the full capacity of “now” to carry both the present tense and the act if seeing as that incorporates and wills an entire life. This line defines an inwardness without psychology or any assumptions about selfhood.

 Rae Armantrout
How they found you, after a dream, in your thimble hat,
Studious as a butterfly in a parking lot.
–“The Other Tradition,” Houseboat Days (1977)
I tried to choose just one line but it seemed impossible. The action is always somewhere in between, in transit, like the “studious” butterfly that settles briefly then veers off. A butterfly is never jaded. These lines might describe an Ashbery poem. They arrive in the wake of some event, perhaps momentous, perhaps quotidian. Who knows now? They (and we) are off to something else—the next parked car. John is the least pompous poet in the world. Here he / you / we are Thumbelina, in our thimble hats. At this scale, attention is intense and distributive.

Felix Bernstein
To tease me into doing it, on your level, and then you aren’t there
–“Paradoxes and Oxymorons,” Shadow Train (1979)
You exist to prop up the will to be seen seeing therefore I am seeing you where you are not: where you tapped in, leaving the levels of the memory palace always in place so as to lead back to the double inside, which remains outside of where the split would have been, had you not been. You’ve shored up there—where things don’t squirt all over, or miss each other, but only tap—not to memorialize the other, or memorialize the poem, but to make the poem itself another.

Anselm Berrigan
My favorite JA lines include (all from Wakefulness [1998]):
a) Take this, metamorphosis. And this. And this. And this.
b) No matter how you / twist it, / life stays frozen in the headlights.
c) All the wolves in wolf factory paused / at noon, for a moment of silence.
–“Laughing Gravy”
d) If everybody is so intent on illustrating what they know, / why is the ant syllabus closed
–“Deeply Incised”
Only the shy should choose. Rudy Burckhardt was fond of b, but I’m a sucker for c."

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