Thursday, November 10, 2005

If you haven't seen it yet, Jeremy Bushnell wrote an incisive post on the Ashbery profile yesterday, pointing out how the piece strategically denies Ashbery's writing the status or domain of an aesthetic that others might participate in or contest, even as it slyly alludes to more brutalist aesthetics of "smashing and hurling" meaning that Ashbery assuredly doesn't practice. Ashbery must be justified to readers since he's been admitted to the canon by authorities like Harold Bloom, but the genuine strangeness of his practice and the shards of collective invention emedded in it must be made as invisible as possible. In that sense Ashbery is denied his possible role as "gateway poet" and becomes a literary curiosity and an aesthetic dead end. Nothing to see here but the strictly foreseeable future.

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