From the Poetry Center Archive: Discovering John Ashbery
On Monday, 92Y honors the latest winners of our “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Contest—Mario Chard, Rebecca Hazelton, Rosalie Moffett and Franke Varca—with an evening of readings from our storied stage. For more than six decades, this contest has been “discovering” poets, and today we share a recording from one of its earliest winners: John Ashbery.
Ashbery was not yet 25 when he read at 92Y’s Poetry Center on April 3, 1952. The poems he read that night—and are featured in this recording (they include “Meditations of a Parrot,” “The Painter” and “The Picture of Little J.A. in a Prospect of Flowers”)—were collected in his first book, Some Trees, which was published four years later.
“And only in the light of lost words/Can we imagine our rewards,” Ashbery wrote in “The Picture of Little J.A.” With this upload, we continue to pay tribute to Dave Nolan, our beloved audio archivist who passed away in 2010. 92Y’s vast archive of recordings dates back to the 1940s, and now, as part of the Dave Nolan Poetry Series, we are able to honor Dave’s contribution to its preservation with new uploads to our Virtual Poetry Center, an on-going project which is in large part the product of Dave’s belief that the merit of an archive is measured by the extent to which it is shared.
We thank The Aeroflex Foundation for its support of the Dave Nolan Poetry Series.