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The Vermont Notebook

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  114 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Originally published by Black Sparrow Press in 1975, and long out of print, The Vermont Notebook combines the writing of the American master John Ashbery with the ink drawings of Joe Brainard (1942-1994). This is Ashbery at his wacky best, from long lists that seem to make some sense, to short lists that seem to make no sense, to made-up diary entries. Here we find Joe Bra ...more
Paperback, 108 pages
Published August 2nd 2001 by Granary Books (first published 2001)
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Dec 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, for-school
According to another reviewer, The Vermont Notebook is a "vanity project." I can understand why someone might think this. Despite the complimentary function of Joe Brainard's illustrations, there's something epiphenomenal about them. And indeed, John Ashbery had finished the poem before sending it off to Brainard—a decision which frustrated the possibility for any genuine inter-artist dialogue. As a result, The Vermont Notebook isn't a work of interdisciplinary art so much as a simple poetry boo ...more
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Strange book for Ashbery, but I liked's doubly strange since his "Self Portrait" came out the same year. It's difficult to compare to other books of his, but it was a pleasure to see him break away from his usual, uber-refined, yet playful, lexical fireworks, and just "go for it"... Also mentionable: the rhythms in the "lists" of words/objects/people are interesting in their own right (something to pay attention to as I don't believe these lists were fully aleatoric in composition, thoug ...more
Jul 31, 2007 rated it liked it
I had the Black Sparrow version of this one, and now have the Granary. It is what it appears to be, a journal. Lists, notes to self, some descriptions of things seen, a couple of jokes. Nothing fancy, certainly no "POEMS" as such, but the sense that everything everyday is a poem. Definitive drawings by Joe Brainard, who makes this book worth buying. Beautiful production.
A vanity project of the worst kind. Self-indulgent crap. -cg
Wendy Trevino
Sep 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poets
Meh... For those interested, in a list of artists, "Sandra MacPherson" appears between "Kathleen Fraser" and "Anne Sexton."
Jun 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
It's almost entirely just lists of stuff next to pictures, but somehow it works really well.
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2014
There are times when you need something that twists on the page. Lists, false diary entries, poem: patter on the page. Engaging, but frivolous.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2008
A different Ashbery, very easy.
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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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