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April Galleons

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3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  110 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In this collection, first published in 1987, John Ashbery--"one of his generation's most gifted and eloquent poets" (Michuko Kakutani, "The New York Times")--offers some of his most intimate and direct poems. With breathtaking freshness, he writes of mutability, of the passage of time, and of growth, decay, and death as they are reflected in both ourselves and the changing ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published March 30th 1999 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1987)
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Timothy
Sep 11, 2007 Timothy rated it it was amazing
Dude, Ashbery could drink you under the table. And then write a fucked up persona poem about it. And it would be from the point of view of PORKY PIG. Man, wouldn't you feel stupid then? DO NOT TRY TO DRINK ASHBERY UNDER THE TABLE!
Mark Babcock
Sep 05, 2012 Mark Babcock rated it it was amazing
Slave ships were called Galleons. An alternate title might be Slaves To Spring. I especially like the poem As On Put Drunk Into the Packet Boat.
TQ-tip Shandy
Mar 02, 2010 TQ-tip Shandy rated it it was amazing
lyrical magic; observant wonder; the mind as a magician
Pamela
I found there was not much to hold onto with these poems. About the middle, with Someone you have seen before there were a few good poems. These I could grasp firmly and enjoyed them more. Overall though, I oddly did like this collection better than Ashbery's previous book I read last month, A Wave. Attempting one more and if it doesn't grip me I'll stop there.
Terence Manleigh
Reading these poems is like making bedside conversation with an Alzheimer's patient. There are words, and they are arranged in the right order, but there is nothing there...no sense, no intent, no engagement, no illumination. Ashbery is the worst kind of literary hoaxster.
C
Apr 14, 2010 C rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, slow-moves, 2010
Ashbery exudes "goodness" and skill, but I couldn't slow myself down enough to really enjoy or absorb him. He's probably worth purchasing and musing through more slowly when I'm not as goal-oriented and ravenous.
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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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“Vetiver”
Ages passed slowly, like a load of hay,
As the flowers recited their lines
And pike stirred at the bottom of the pond.
The pen was cool to the touch.
The staircase swept upward
Through fragmented garlands, keeping the melancholy
Already distilled in letters of the alphabet.

It would be time for winter now, its spun-sugar
Palaces and also lines of care
At the mouth, pink smudges on the forehead and cheeks,
The color once known as "ashes of roses.-"
How many snakes and lizards shed their skins
For time to be passing on like this,
Sinking deeper in the sand as it wound toward
The conclusion. It had all been working so well and now,
Well, it just kind of came apart in the hand
As a change is voiced, sharp
As a fishhook in the throat, and decorative tears flowed
Past us into a basin called infinity.

There was no charge for anything, the gates
Had been left open intentionally.
Don't follow, you can have whatever it is.
And in some room someone examines his youth,
Finds it dry and hollow, porous to the touch...
O keep me with you, unless the outdoors
Embraces both of us, unites us, unless
The birdcatchers put away their twigs,
The fishermen haul in their sleek empty nets
And others become part of the immense crowd
Around this bonfire, a situation
That has come to mean us to us, and the crying
In the leaves is saved, the last silver drops.”
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