1927-07-28

JOHN ASHBERY  is an American poet born on this date (d: 2017). He won nearly every major American award for poetry and is recognized as one of America’s most important, though still controversial, poets. In an article on Elizabeth Bishop in his Selected Prose, he characterized himself as having been described as “a hare-brained, homegrown surrealist whose poetry defies even the rules and logic of Surrealism.”

“No figure loom[ed] so large in American poetry over the past 50 years as John Ashbery”, Langdon Hammer, chairman of the English Department at Yale University, wrote in 2008. “[N]o American poet has had a larger, more diverse vocabulary, not Whitman, not Pound”. Stephen Burt, a poet and Harvard professor of English has compared Ashbery to T. S. Eliot, the “last figure whom half the English-language poets alive thought a great model, and the other half thought incomprehensible.”

Ashbery lived in New York City and Hudson, New York, with his husband, David Kermani. He died of natural causes on September 3, 2017, at his home in Hudson, at the age of 90