John Ashbery Quotes

So of the three methods: reason, sense, or a knowing combination of both, the last seems the least like a winner, the second problematic; only the first has some slim chance of succeeding through sheer perversity, which is possibly the only way to succeed at all.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
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Expecting rain, the profile of a day Wears its soul like a hat....
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Frontispiece."
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The hand holds no chalk And each part of the whole falls off And cannot know it knew, except Here and there, in cold pockets Of remembrance, whispers out of time.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
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The system was breaking down. The one who had wandered alone past so many happenings and events began to feel, backing up along the primal vein that led to his center, the beginning of hiccup that would, if left to gather, explode the center to the extremities of life, the suburbs through which one makes one's way to where the country is.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
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And so we turn the page over To think of starting. This is all there is.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Frontispiece."
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The soul is not a soul, Has no secret, is small, and it fits Its hollow perfectly: its room, our moment of attention.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
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If you need a certain vitality you can only supply it yourself, or there comes a point, anyway, when no one's actions but your own seem dramatically convincing and justifiable in the plot that the number of your days concocts.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
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That which is given to see At any moment is the residue, shadowed In gold or emerging into the clear bluish haze Of uncertainty. We come back to ourselves Through the rubbish of cloud and tree-spattered pavement. These days stand like vapor under the trees.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Gazing Grain, The."
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All we know Is that we are a little early, that Today has that special, lapidary Todayness that the sunlight reproduces Faithfully in casting twig-shadows on blithe Sidewalks. No previous day would have been like this.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror."
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it is best then that the buried word remain buried for we were intended to appreciate only its fruits and not the secret principle activating them to know this would be to know too much. Meanwhile it is possible to know just enough, and this is all we were supposed to know, toward which we have been straining all our lives.
John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System."
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