By the end of the book, Ashbery has laid out not only a course in contemporary poetics but a portrait of the artist teaching himself to become a thoroughly Modernist poet---in small bites, easy to savor, easy to digest. ---Los Angeles Times Book Review
This is a marvelous book by one of our greatest poets. Reading John Ashbery's Selected Prose is like listening to a brilliant talker who not only keeps us entertained and laughing, but who also has wise things to say about all sorts of interesting subjects. ---Charles Simic
At last! Many of the fugitive pieces collected in this volume---on Gertude Stein, on Frank O'Hara, on Marianne Moore or Adrienne Rich---published as many of them were in out-of-the way places, have already become collectors' items, providing fascinating---and often startling--- assessments of their subjects as well as new insight into Ashbery himself. Now here they are between two covers, along with many hitherto unknown pieces on subjects ranging from Michel Butor to Mary Butts, Jane Freilicher to Mark Ford. For anyone who cares about the contemporary poetry/art scene, this is an indispensable collection. ---Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University
Selected Prose contains a broad selection of texts by internationally acclaimed poet and critic John Ashbery. This third collection of Ashbery's critical writings dramatically expands the terrain covered by the first two, Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles 1957-1987 and Other Traditions (first presented as the Norton Lectures at Harvard). These essays on writers, artists, filmmakers and the life of a poet provide insight into Ashbery's evolution as one of the major poets in English. Ashbery's criticism is as essential to the cultural history of the twentieth century as was that of T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden. His unique sensibility has had a profound impact on the literature and arts of our time, and his influence is certain to be felt for decades to come. Editor Eugene Richie's introduction provides a meaningful context for fifty years' worth of critical and creative prose by one of America's finest poets.