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Arts and Theater 1
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Black Tie International:
John Ashbery Celebrated Twentieth-Century American Poet

John Ashbery Celebrated Twentieth-Century American Poet

The New School

Photos & Story by:  Fiddle Viracola



John Ashbery

John Ashbery


John Ashbery and David Lehman

John Ashbery and David Lehman


John Ashbery  and Fiddle Viracola

John Ashbery  and Fiddle Viracola


John Ashbery and Mark Champion

John Ashbery and Mark Champion



John Ashbery, one of the greatest, most celebrated and beloved, twentieth-century American poets, won every major American award for poetry:  Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Yale Younger Poets Prize, Bollingen Prize, Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Griffin International Award and MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Fullbright, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships. While completing his latest poetry book Planishere
(Harper Collins publisher), his translation of Arthur Rimbaud’s Illuminations was finished as he basked in acclaim of a major
New York City gallery presentation of his collages.

The New School: Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnold Hall was standing room/packed on this freezing, winter night. The February event: John Ashbery reading from his latest poetry book (wrote over twenty) before David Lehman, coordinator of the New School’s graduate poetry program, hosted an interview and welcomed audience questions and book signing.

We hear the wit, twist and turning stream of consciousness flow ”open-ended and multivarious like life,” he once said in an interview.
“I Begin with a poem title and not an ending. Often the title has nothing to do with it” he told us.

History unraveled by the teaspoon: Harvard; never wanting to be an art critic and became one; five years in Paris; news for the Herald Tribune; New York Magazine, Partisan Review, Art News, critic; The Tibor de Nagy Gallery, artists and poets era etc. How the varied list goes on.

There was the typical grey haired man in a blue beret and hand knit scarf, tilting his head in awe, as a phrase hit home while clusters of ladies in faux- fur, nodded in unison. It was amazing to see so many, young people with coats on chairs and Ugg boots off. They weren’t tweeting or ear- plugged into Train while fingering cell phones. No! They were BE-ing present in the NOW as they sat on the edges of
red chairs, LISTENING! LISTENING, to a great man in his eighty’s.
I saw a miracle. 



Joyce Brooks

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