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Other Traditions

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
One of the greatest living poets in English here explores the work of six writers he often finds himself reading "in order to get started" when writing, poets he turns to as "a poetic jump-start for times when the batteries have run down." Among those whom John Ashbery reads at such times are John Clare, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Raymond Roussel, John Wheelwright, Laura Ridin ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Harvard University Press (first published October 30th 2000)
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Eddie Watkins
Nov 24, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-lit-studies
A collection of home-spun lectures delivered by Ashbery while he held the Charles Eliot Norton chair. Assuming very little innate knowledge on the part of his listeners, he talks about five "minor" writers very important to him and who he reads to jump-start his own writing. The writers include - John Clare (rustic English somewhat late romantic), Thomas Lovell Beddoes (also a somewhat late English romantic, but also a scientist and occultist), Raymond Roussel (French generator of strange impers ...more
Annette Boehm
Jan 29, 2014 Annette Boehm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Poet John Ashbery talks about some of the poets whose work has influenced him. For this book he chooses 'minor' poets, and the result is interesting and very readable. For a longer discussion of this book, check out my blogpost on it here:
Jun 16, 2011 Stephen rated it liked it
I'm almost entirely unversed in John Ashbery's poetry, but this collection of lectures, centered on poets he deemed personal influences on his work, appealed to the part of me who loves an underdog, especially the eccentric Raymond Roussel. That being the case, it shouldn't be surprising that the lecture on Roussel was my favorite, though Ashbery also presents a convincing case for the greatness of little-known David Schubert, and his analysis of Laura Riding manages to be both critical and humo ...more
T Fool
May 19, 2009 T Fool rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
JA lectures on a handful of lesser-known, unknown, poets, and shows them respect. Close-reading sometimes, revealing differing kinds of poetic hazards, opening for us a can of quirks, JA shows us, also, ourselves as we've tried to write and write earnestly.

'Minor' poets, lacking the 'grace of God' and just the two or three wrist-turns it takes to be 'major', get known or get kept at all only by the diligence of scholars or the acknowledgment extended by the brotherhood.

If you write and are not
Michael Steger
Nov 26, 2013 Michael Steger rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic collection of deceptively short essays. Ashbery provides a great deal of insight into the work the poets he selected for his Charles Eliot Norton Lectures (John Clare, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Raymond Roussel, John Wheelwright, Laura Riding, and David Schubert), the reader wants to run out and beginning reading each poet's collected pons. Indirectly, the reader cannot help but feel that Ashbery is revealing much about his own seemingly sphinx-like aesthetic orientation.
Alex Moseley
Feb 01, 2012 Alex Moseley rated it really liked it
Ashbery hints broadly here how these poets, or at least his readings of these poets, have been instructive and influential in his own poetry. A late-comer to the genius of Ashbery, I find it fascinating to get a glimpse of the poet's mind at work, engaging other people's poetry.
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John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia, and he traveled as a Fulbright Scholar to France in 1955. Best known as a poet, he has published more than twenty collections, most recently A Worldly Country (Ecco, 2007). His Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (Viking, 1975) won the three major American prizes: the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, ...more
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