[John Ashbery, iconoclast, with a baseball-bat, from Rudy Burckhardt's Mounting Tension (1950); painted by Larry Rivers ("Pyrography: Poem and Portrait of John Ashbery II" (1977); photographed by Lynn Davis (c.1986); "L'Heure Exquise - collage by John Ashbery (1977); presentation of 2011 National Arts and Humanities Medal, February 2012, by President Barack Obama]
Today is the great American poet John Ashbery's 87th birthday
We thought to celebrate with this - a vintage reading from 1963 in New York at The Living Theatre (reading from Rivers and Mountains, Some Trees, and The Tennis Court Oath, with an introduction by Kenneth Koch)
Here's a more recent reading (from February 2013) at the Kelly Writers House
(and here's a follow-up interview, (hosted by UPenn's Al Filreis), a day later
The PennSound John Ashbery page (from which these two readings have been excerpted) is, truly, a quite extraordinary trove - hours and hours of Ashbery, we recommend you pursue further.
Similarly, the remarkable Ashbery Resource Center (a project of the Flow Chart Foundation for Bard College)
Just published, this past Spring, from FSG, "a major publishing event", John Ashbery's Collected French translations
(Our note on his 2011 Rimbaud translations may be read here)
Ashbery's most recent volume is Quick Question (2012). A new book of poems, Breezeway will be forthcoming early next year.
Happy Birthday, John!