John Ashbery Quotes

... that there is no other way, That the history of creation proceeds according to Stringent laws, and that things Do get done in this way, but never the things We set out to accomplish and wanted so desperately To see come into being.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
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We wish to know more but we are never sated No wonder some folks think the flesh is overrated!
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Songs We Know Best."
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The shadow of the Venetian blind on the painted wall, Shadows of the snake-plant and cacti, the plaster animals, Focus the tragic melancholy of the bright stare Into nowhere, a hole like the black holes in space.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Forties Flick."
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The soul establishes itself. But how far can it swim out through the eyes And still return safely to its nest?
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
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Too often when you thought you'd be showered with confetti What they flung at you was a plate of hot spaghetti You've put your fancy clothes and flashy gems in hock Yet you pause before your father's door afraid to knock
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The Songs We Know Best."
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Another time I go outside Into the world. It rocks on and on. It was rocking before I saw it And is presumably doing so still.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Friends."
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Our landscape Is alive with filiations, shuttlings; Business is carried on by look, gesture, Hearsay.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
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For universal love is as special an aspect as carnal love or any of the other kinds: all forms of mental and spiritual activity must be practiced and encouraged equally if the whole affair is to prosper. There is no cutting corners where the life of the soul is concerned....
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
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No one makes mistakes. No one runs away Any more. I bite my lip and Turn to you. Maybe now you understand. The feeling is a jewel like a pearl.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Friends."
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Is there anything To be serious about beyond this otherness That gets included in the most ordinary Forms of daily activity, changing everything Slightly and profoundly....
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
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