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John Ashbery

A critical biography of America’s most influential postmodern poet.
Mysterious, esoteric, and baffling, John Ashbery is notorious for the seeming difficulty of his work. But Ashbery is also entertaining, humorous, even charming, and ever responsive to his shifting social and political contexts. This biography charts Ashbery’s rise from a minor avant-garde figure to the most important poet of his generation. Jess Cotton provides a legible and accessible roadmap to Ashbery’s work that draws connections between his poetry, New York artists, and mid-century politics. Cotton paints an image of a more approachable and socially engaged Ashbery that will appeal to anyone interested in American poetry, queer lives, and twentieth-century American history.

224 pages | 40 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4

Critical Lives

Biography and Letters


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