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John Ashbery

John Ashbery

Performing Everyman at Christ Church Parish House, Cambridge, MA, February 26, 1951.

Staring Connaught O'Connell as Columbine, David Bowen as Everyman and Jerry Kohn as Death

Provided by: The Poets' Theater and
Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard Univeristy Library
(13:23): MP3


(Andrew Epstein discusses this event and shares Daniel Ellsberg's Harvard Crimson review)

92nd Street Y (New York), reading from Some Trees, April 3, 1952

(30:17): 92Y public Link
PennSound archive link (public release Spring 2014)

Reading at The Living Theatre, New York City, September 16, 1963

  • complete reading (52:51): MP3
  1. Introduction by Kenneth Koch (2:35): MP3
  2. From Rivers and Mountains (1966) (except for those marked with *)

  3. Rivers and Mountains (3:57): MP3
  4. The Ecclesiast (2:32): MP3
  5. The Adirondacks* (3:26): MP3
  6. These Lacustrine Cities (1:40): MP3
  7. Balance of Payments (3:02): MP3
  8. To a Waterfowl* (3:07): MP3
  9. Into the Dusk-Charged Air (3:55): MP3
  10. from Some Trees (1956)

  11. Two Scenes (1:07): MP3
  12. Popular Songs (1:39): MP3
  13. The Instruction Manual (5:28): MP3
  14. Sonnet ("Each servant stamps the reader with a look") (0:44): MP3
  15. The Young Son (1:26): MP3
  16. And You Know (3:44): MP3
  17. from The Tennis Court Oath (1962)

  18. "They Dream Only of America" (1:09): MP3
  19. The Suspended Life (4:15): MP3
  20. A Life Drama (3:02): MP3
  21. Our Youth (1:58): MP3
  22. Landscape (1:25): MP3
  23. A Last World (cuts off abruptly) (0:56): MP3

Reading at the Washington Square Art Gallery, NYC, August 23, 1964

  1. The Tennis Court Oath (2:08): MP3
  2. They Dream Only of America (0:56): MP3
  3. Thoughts of a Young Girl (0:33): MP3
  4. Rain (3:50): MP3
  5. The Suspended Life (3:16): MP3
  6. The Skaters (47:53): MP3 [5-minute excerpt from part 1]
Complete reading (1:00:14): MP3

Note: Bill Berkson gave the introduction at this event. The gallery reading was organized by Ruth Kligman, and the reading of "The Skaters" was the first ever. It is Berkson's recollection that the standing-room-only audience included Edwin Denby, Frank O'Hara, and "many of the younger New York poets (Padgett, Berrigan, Towle, Shapiro) and also Andy Warhol."

Interview with Bruce Kawin on WKCR Radio, May 5, 1966

  1. introduction (0:33): MP3
  2. These Lacustrine Cities (2:19): MP3
  3. offering one explanation or reading of the poem (13:00): MP3
  4. These Lacustrine Cities (second reading) (1:29): MP3
  5. Rivers and Mountains (3:55): MP3
  6. Last Month (0:53): MP3
  7. Civilization and its Discontents (2:11): MP3
  8. The Ecclesiast (2:18): MP3
  9. closing remarks (0:31): MP3

Complete Reading (27:38): MP3

Reading at YM-YWHA, with an introduction by Richard Howard. Episode #23157: "The Poetry of John Ashbery," March 27, 1967

  1. program introduction (0:23): MP3
  2. introduction by Richard Howard (5:35): MP3
  3. The Chateau Hardware (0:40): MP3
  4. Song (0:43): MP3
  5. Of the Patterned Bedspread (1:27): MP3
  6. The Bungalows (4:20): MP3
  7. Black Thorn (1:11): MP3
  8. Decoy (1:52): MP3
  9. Definition of Blue (1:50): MP3
  10. French Poems (1:48): MP3

Complete Reading (20:22): MP3

Reading Collected in 'The Spoken Word: American Poets' by BBC-British Library, August 21, 1972

  1. Farm Implements And Rutabagas In A Landscape (02:48): MP3
  2. Variations, Calypso And Fugue On A Theme of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (08:36): MP3

Appearing at Poetry's 19th Annual Poetry Day, WFMT Chicago, November 17, 1973

Note: Ashbery read with John Hollander at this reading, as is alluded to in the introduction

Complete recording (41:25): MP3

From Some Trees (1956)

  1. Introduction (3:03): MP3
  2. Two Scenes (1:30): MP3
  3. Popular Songs (1:40): MP3
  4. The Grapevine (0:35): MP3
  5. Glazunoviana (0:32): MP3
  6. Sonnet ("Each servant stamps the reader with a look.") (0:45): MP3
  7. And You Know (3:52): MP3
  8. from The Tennis Court Oath (1962)

  9. They Dream Only of America (1:25): MP3
  10. Thoughts of a Young Girl (0:39): MP3
  11. Faust (2:28): MP3
  12. From The Double Dream of Spring (1970)

  13. Soonest Mended (5:07): MP3
  14. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (9:28): MP3
  15. from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975)

  16. Forties Flick (1:45): MP3
  17. On Autumn Lake (2:04): MP3
  18. Scheherazade (4:31): MP3

Reading for WBAI-FM, Produced by Susan Howe, New York, May 14 and June 7, 1975

Complete reading, May 14 (32:41): MP3

  1. Business Personals (5:09): MP3
  2. Syringa (5:28): MP3
  3. Worsening Situation (2:21): MP3
  4. Forties Flick (1:33): MP3
  5. As You Came from the Holy Land (2:05): MP3
  6. Scheherazade (3:57): MP3
  7. The Tomb of Stuart Merrill (2:56): MP3
  8. The One Thing that Can Save America (2:20): MP3
  9. As One Put Drunk into the Packet Boat (2:22): MP3
  10. Oleum Misericordiae (2:19): MP3

Complete reading, June 7 (20:04): MP3

  1. Daffy Duck in Hollywood (7:55): MP3
  2. And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (1:53): MP3
  3. Unctuous Platitudes (1:11): MP3
  4. Explaination (2:09): MP3
  5. On the Towpath (2:30): MP3
  6. Mixed Feelings (2:05): MP3

Potpourri of Poetry Reading at the Naropa Institute, Summer 1975

John Ashbery's segment (reading "Wet Casements") (3:19): MP3

Reading in Buffalo, October 15, 1975

Complete reading (46:15): MP3

  1. Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (2:52): MP3
  2. Summer (1:34): MP3
  3. It Was Raining in the Capitol (2:40): MP3
  4. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler WIlcox (10:22): MP3
  5. The Chateau Hardware (0:38): MP3
  6. The Task (1:19): MP3
  7. Parergon (2:31): MP3
  8. Soonest Mended (4:47): MP3
  9. The New Spirit (excerpt) (6:45): MP3
  10. Worsening Situation (1:55): MP3
  11. Scheherazade (4:20): MP3
  12. Mixed Feelings (2:41): MP3

Reading at Sanders Theater, Harvard University, sponsored by the Woodberry Poetry Room, May 16, 1976

complete reading (1:07:10): MP3

  1. introduction (1:14): MP3
  2. Street Musicians (1:36): MP3
  3. Pyrography (6:19): MP3
  4. Bird's Eye View of the Tool and Die Co. (1:10): MP3
  5. Collective Dawns (2:40): MP3
  6. The Couple in the Next Room (0:42): MP3
  7. Variant (1:08): MP3
  8. Daffy Duck in Hollywood (9:19): MP3
  9. Melodic Trains (3:32): MP3
  10. Wet Casements (1:44): MP3
  11. The Wrong Kind of Insurance (2:45): MP3
  12. Business Personals (4:35): MP3
  13. Unctuous Platitudes (1:07): MP3
  14. Friends (2:06): MP3
  15. The Lament Upon the Waters (2:45): MP3
  16. Worsening Situation (2:32): MP3
  17. Poem in Three Parts: Love, Courage, I Love the Sea (3:22): MP3
  18. Mixed Feelings (2:05): MP3
  19. Oleum Misericordiae (3:01): MP3
  20. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (9:13): MP3
  21. Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (3:04): MP3
Courtesy of the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard University.

Reading at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, May 17, 1977

part one (42:25): MP3

  1. introduction (4:20): MP3
  2. passage from The New Spirit (20:52): MP3
  3. Street Musicians (1:37): MP3
  4. The Other Traditions (2:17): MP3
  5. Collective Dawns (2:57): MP3
  6. Wooden Buildings (1:13): MP3
  7. Pyrogaphy (ends prematurely) (7:38): MP3

part two (16:36): MP3

  1. Daffy Duck in Hollywood (beginning cut off) (7:09): MP3
  2. Blue Sonata (8:46): MP3

Appearing with Barbara Guest on P.E.N. Portraits, hosted by Anne Fremantle, WNYC, May 22, 1977

  1. introduction (3:42): MP3
  2. responding to Emily Dickinson's statement that some words made her want to take off her hat to them (3:38): MP3
  3. fondness of particular words (3:18): MP3
  4. commenting on teaching poetry (1:19): MP3
  5. John Ashbery reading "And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name" (1:54): MP3
  6. John Ashbery reading "What Is Poetry" (0:46): MP3
  7. Barbara Guest reading "June" (1:04): MP3
  8. Barbara Guest reading "Passage" (1:33): MP3
  9. John Ashbery reading from "Three Poems" (1:22): MP3
  10. breaking down the division between ideas and words (4:19): MP3
  11. starting with a title and theme v. letting the poem develop as it comes along (4:30): MP3
  12. closing comments (1:28): MP3
Complete program (28:52): MP3

Segue Series Reading at the Ear Inn with Michael Lally, September 16, 1978

  1. A Box and its Contents (1:42): MP3
  2. The Heralding Shadows of a New Adventure (2:01): MP3
  3. Haunted Landscape (3:28): MP3
  4. Five Pedantic Pieces (1:02): MP3
  5. The Cathedral Is (0:17): MP3
  6. Silhouette (2:36): MP3
  7. A Tone Poem (0:59): MP3
  8. Metamorphosis (2:26): MP3
  9. Sleeping in the Corners of Our Lives (1:21): MP3
  10. from Litany (19:59): MP3
Complete reading (1:23:44): MP3

Reading at the Science Center, Harvard University, November 9, 1978

  1. introduction (0:48): MP3
  2. Worsening Situation (2:53): MP3
  3. Oleum Misericordia (3:44): MP3
  4. The Other Tradition (2:43): MP3
  5. The Ice-Cream Wars (2:39): MP3
  6. Blue Sonata (3:01): MP3
  7. Fantasia on a Nut Brown Maid (7:29): MP3
  8. The Sun (2:18): MP3
  9. Five Pedantic Pieces (3:03): MP3
  10. The Haunted Landscape (5:19): MP3
  11. My Erotic Double (1:10): MP3
  12. Seeing is Believing (0:36): MP3
  13. Knocking Around (3:05): MP3
  14. Train Rising Out of the Sea (3:27): MP3
  15. The Cathedral Is (2:09): MP3
  16. A Sparkler (2:13): MP3
  17. The Wine (1:56): MP3
  18. Sleeping in the Corners of Our Lives (1:28): MP3
  19. The Other Cindy (2:24): MP3
  20. Landscape People (1:25): MP3
  21. The Plural of Jack-in-the-Box (0:55): MP3
  22. Litany (16:24): MP3
This recording is made available courtesy of the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University.

Lecture on Giorgio de Chirico at the Poetry Project, NYC, March 22, 1979

part one (38:17): MP3
part two (30:28): MP3

The Songs We Know Best, 1973 and 1988

Complete reading (61:40): MP3

Side One

  1. Two Scenes (1:08): MP3
  2. The Instruction Manual (7:05): MP3
  3. And You Know (4:26): MP3
  4. Thoughts of a Young Girl (0:46): MP3
  5. It was Raining in the Capital (3:21): MP3
  6. Far Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (4:07): MP3
  7. And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (3:15): MP3
  8. Landscape (After Baudelaire) (2:06): MP3
  9. The Songs We Know Best (4:09): MP3

All selections on side one were recordered at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., on Febrauary 29, 1988. Special thanks to Gigi Bradford.

Side Two

  1. Sonnet ("Each servant stamps the reader...") (0:46): MP3
  2. "How Much Longer Will I Be Able to Inhabit the Divine Sepulcher..." (4:29): MP3
  3. Rivers and Mountains (3:47): MP3
  4. The Task (1:23): MP3
  5. Song (1:27): MP3
  6. The New Spirit (excerpt) (17:59): MP3

All selections on side two were recorded at the Library of Congress Recording Lab, Washington D.C., January 16, 1973.

  • STAFF:
  • Producer: Anne Becker
  • Recording Engineer: Alan D. Austin (Side One)
  • Post Production Engineer: Anne Becker
  • Cover Design:Lynn Springer

Production of this tape was made possible in part by a grant from the Literature Program of the National Endowment for the Arts

"Litany," recorded with Ann Lauterbach, 1980

"Litany" originally appeared in As We Know (1979). A brief excerpt of this session previously appeared on the Giorno Poetry Systems album, Sugar, Alcohol and Meat in 1980.

  • "Litany" part 1 (15:49): MP3
  • "Litany" part 2 (54:40): MP3
  • "Litany" part 3 (14:08): MP3

Reading at the University of Arizona, November 4, 1980

  1. introduction (0:59): MP3
  2. Thoughts of a Young Girl (1:13): MP3
  3. from The Skaters, Part II [excerpt] (9:51): MP3
  4. Soonest Mended (5:39): MP3
  5. It was raining in the Capital (3:18): MP3
  6. Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (4:55): MP3
  7. from The System [excerpt] (6:45): MP3
  8. from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror [excerpt] (2:26): MP3
  9. Street Musicians (1:32): MP3
  10. The Other Tradition (2:17): MP3
  11. The Couple in the Next Room (0:50): MP3
  12. An Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (2:51): MP3
  13. The Ice-Cream Wars (2:09): MP3 (tape break at 0:41)
  14. from Litany [excerpt] (6:40): MP3
Complete Reading, part one (44:56): MP3
Complete Reading, part two (12:15): MP3

Appearing with Robert Creeley in "Attitudes Towards the Flame," part of "The Territory of Art" radio series, produced and (c) by Museum of Comtemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1983

written by Julia Brown, produced by Ara Guzelimian

  1. program introduction (1:19): MP3
  2. introduction to John Ashbery (2:13): MP3
  3. writing about a subject versus impressions, and preoccupations with time in Ashbery's poetry (0:46): MP3
  4. on Three Poems (1:28): MP3
  5. from "The System" (2:49): MP3
  6. the expectation of literal, sequential understanding (1:08): MP3
  7. on "Syringa" and Elliott Carter's music (1:21): MP3
  8. Syringa (5:11): MP3
  9. writing with an audience in mind (0:51): MP3
John Ashbery's portion of the recording (15:44): MP3

Complete Program (28:40): MP3

Appearing on NPR's Morning Edition for the Academy of American Poets' 50th Anniversary, September 22, 1983

Reading at Harvard University as part of the Morris Gray Lecture Series, October 16, 1985

Provided by: The Poets' Theater and Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard Univeristy Library

  1. introductionn (4:08): MP3
  2. The Task (5:05): MP3
  3. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (12:07): MP3
  4. For John Clare (4:26): MP3
  5. The Chateau Hardware (0:49): MP3
  6. The Other Tradition (2:45): MP3
  7. The Couple in the Next Room (0:55): MP3
  8. And Ut Pictura Poesis is Her Name (0:49): MP3
  9. At North Farm (1:59): MP3
  10. The Songs We Know Best (4:24): MP3
  11. Landscape (After Baudelaire) (1:57): MP3
  12. A Wave (excerpt): (5:59): MP3
  13. A Mood of Quiet Beauty (1:13): MP3
  14. October at the Window (2:41): MP3
  15. Disguised Zenith (1:49): MP3
  16. Forgotten Song (2:28): MP3
  17. Vetiver (2:36): MP3
  18. Vaucanson (3:05): MP3
  19. Someone You Have Seen Before (5:45): MP3

Reading at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM, November 20, 1985

Complete Recording (1:17:41): MP3

  1. Introduction (1:27): MP3
  2. Two Scenes (2:33): MP3
  3. Popular Letters (2:16): MP3
  4. Thoughts of a Young Girl (1:21): MP3
  5. The New Realism (2:13): MP3
  6. Plainness and Diversity (1:56): MP3
  7. Variations, Calypso and Feud (11:55): MP3
  8. Chateau Hardware (0:46): MP3
  9. Worsening Situation (2:48): MP3
  10. The Other Tradition (2:33): MP3
  11. The Gazing Grain (1:26): MP3
  12. And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (3:26): MP3
  13. At North Farm (2:26): MP3
  14. The Songs We Know Best (4:18): MP3
  15. Tableaux Parisiens (2:07): MP3
  16. More Pleasant Adventures (1:30): MP3
  17. A Wave (6:41): MP3
  18. Finished Rapsody (7:19): MP3
  19. Vettiver (2:11): MP3
  20. A Mood of Quiet (1:03): MP3
  21. October at the Window (2:53): MP3
  22. Forgotten Song (2:56): MP3
  23. Someone You Have Seen Before (4:49): MP3

WQXR Radio Program, New York, April 1986

Academy of American Poets Discussion with John Ashbery, Ned Rorem and June LeBell

April 6

Part One (31:56): MP3

  1. setting poetry to music (4:46): MP3
  2. appropriate poems and appropriate music (6:05): MP3
  3. the singer's experience (2:05): MP3
  4. on phrasing "Thoughts of a Young Girl" (3:15): MP3
  5. reading and discussing "Fear of Death;" on composers in poetry (5:19): MP3
  6. on having poetry set to music by Elliot Carter (7:12): MP3
  7. on poets reading their own poetry, and the human voice (3:11): MP3
Part Two (7:25): MP3
on the history and mission of the Academy of American Poets

April 30

Complete Recording (52:53): MP3

New Letters on the Air: a production of New Letters Magazine, University of Missouri, Kansas City, August 1986

reading selected poems as his commencement address to students at the Kansas City Art Institute

  1. introduction (1:48): MP3
  2. Soonest Mended (6:25): MP3
  3. Whatever It Is, Wherever You Are (6:08): MP3
  4. The Songs We Know Best (4:32): MP3
  5. from A Wave (5:50): MP3

Complete Recording (27:00): MP3

Reading in Boyslston Hall, Harvard University, November 10, 1987

Provided by: The Poets' Theater and Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard Univeristy Library

  1. introduction by Stratis Haviaras (3:45): MP3
  2. Some Trees (1:33): MP3
  3. [see text-audio alignment]
  4. Popular Songs (1:55): MP3
  5. Glazunoviana (0:59): MP3
  6. He (3:07): MP3
  7. At North Farm (1:24): MP3
  8. The Songs We Know Best (4:07): MP3
  9. Landscape (After Baudelaire) (1:57): MP3
  10. Just Walking Around (1:07): MP3
  11. 37 Haiku (4:47): MP3
  12. The Lonedale Operator (5:01): MP3
  13. Vetiver (2:12): MP3
  14. Riddle Me (2:04): MP3
  15. Morning Jitters (1:49): MP3
  16. A Snowball in Hell (1:34): MP3
  17. A Mood of Quiet Beauty (0:52): MP3
  18. When Half the Time They Don't Know Themselves (1:20): MP3
  19. Adam Snow (3:04): MP3
  20. The Ice Storm (10:05): MP3
  21. April Galleons (4:08): MP3

Recording for Radio Helicon, hosted by John Tranter, ABC, June 19, 1988

John Ashbery (in New York) was interviewed by John Tranter (in Sydney), in May 1988. This interview was edited by John Tranter, and broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National program 'Radio Helicon', on Sunday 19 June 1988, from 8.15 to 10.00 p.m., with other material.

A partial text of this interview appears in Jacket Magazine's second issue, available here.

  1. "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" (1:09): MP3
  2. "Two Scenes" (1:08): MP3
  3. "Picture of a Little JA in a Prospect of Flowers" (2:53): MP3
  4. "Some Trees" (1:00): MP3
  5. John Ashbery in discussion with John Tranter (8:31): MP3
  6. introduction to "Thoughts of a Young Girl" (0:39): MP3
  7. "Thoughts of a Young Girl (0:39): MP3
  8. "Last Month" (0:59): MP3
  9. John Ashbery in discussion with John Tranter (9:56): MP3
  10. John Tranter introducing Imre Salusinszky's review of Selected Poems (0:30): MP3
  11. Imre Salausinszky (7:03): MP3
  12. "The Painter" (2:05): MP3
  13. Imre Salausinszky (5:55): MP3
  14. "Worsening Situation" (1:51): MP3
  15. Imre Salausinszky (7:24): MP3
  16. musical interlude: from Arvo Pärt's Arbos (6:04): MP3
  17. "Forties Flick" (1:27): MP3
  18. introduction to "Soonest Mended" (0:49): MP3
  19. "Soonest Mended" (4:52): MP3
  20. John Tranter introducing Philip Mead (0:36): MP3
  21. Philip Mead discussing Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror (26:59): MP3
  22. introduction to "And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name" (0:37): MP3
  23. "And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name" (1:43): MP3
  24. discussion of "And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name" (4:45): MP3
  25. "My Erotic Double" (0:59): MP3
  26. "Or In My Throat" (1:06): MP3
  27. "Purists will Object" (1:18): MP3
  28. "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" (1:09): MP3
  29. closing remarks (0:53): MP3
  • complete recording (1:42:49): MP3

John Ashbery reads Eliot as part of "In Different Voices: T.S. Eliot at 100," organized by Richard Howard, Symphony Space, New York City, October 22, 1988

Reading at the Poets' Corner Vespers Service for the Induction of Wiliam Faulkner and Wallace Stevens, The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, NYC, October 22, 1989

Reading from Wallace Stevens' "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven"

  1. Part Three (1:26): MP3
  2. Part Five (1:02): MP3
  3. Part Twelve (1:01): MP3
  4. Part Seventeen (1:06): MP3
  5. Part Eighteen (0:57): MP3
  6. Part Thirty (1:08): MP3
  • Complete Reading (7:02): MP3
  • Complete Service (56:40): MP3

Reading at 92nd Street Y with James Schuyler, November 11, 1989

  1. Riddle Me (1:43): MP3
  2. Alone in the Lumber Business (2:36): MP3
  3. Vaucanson (2:22): MP3
  4. Some Money (1:11): MP3
  5. Still Life with Stranger (1:12): MP3
  6. In Vain, Therefore (0:58): MP3
  7. Revisionist Horn Concerto (2:21): MP3
  8. From Palookaville (3:36): MP3
  9. "And now I cannot remember how I would have had it" (1:58): MP3
  10. Film Noir (3:11): MP3
  11. Notes from the Air (2:31): MP3
  12. The Little Black Dress (0:49): MP3
  13. Le Mensonge de Nina Petrovna (1:41): MP3
  14. Avant de quitter ces lieux (4:27): MP3
  15. Autumn Telegram (2:39): MP3
  • Ashbery Reading (34:48): MP3
  • Complete Recording with James Schuyler (1:21:34): MP3

Charles Eliot Norton Lecture Series, Other Traditions, Harvard University, 1989-1990

Norton Lecture on John Clare, 1989

  • Introduction (4:20): MP3
  • Lecture: John Clare: "Grey Openings Where the Light Looks Through" (45:13): MP3

Norton Lecture on Thomas Lovell Beddoes, 1989

  • Introduction (1:30): MP3
  • Lecture: Olives and Anchovies: The Poetry of Thomas Lovell Beddoes (48:57): MP3

Norton Lecture Series on Laura Riding, 1990

Lecture: "The Unthronged Oracle:" Laura Riding (49:15): MP3

  1. looking back at the writers so far discussed in the series (2:57): MP3
  2. providing a brief biography of Riding (10:52): MP3
  3. on Riding's attempts to control the way her poetry is read (1:48): MP3
  4. on Riding's intimidating astuteness as a critic of poetry (6:17): MP3
  5. on criticisms of Riding's poetry (2:08): MP3
  6. difficulty and accuracy in the work of Riding's early period (5:20): MP3
  7. reading and discussing Sonnets I and IV of "Sonnets in Memory of Samuel" (6:17): MP3
  8. reading and discussing "No More Are Lovely Palaces" (2:51): MP3
  9. on Riding's influence (2:03): MP3
  10. on the necessity of misreading Riding and ignoring her promises (1:18): MP3
  11. quoting Julian Symons on Riding's poetic achievements (0:55): MP3
  12. reading "In Nineteen Twenty-Seven" (6:20): MP3

Norton Lecture on Raymond Roussel, 1990

  • Introduction (1:13): MP3
  • Lecture: The Bachelor Machines of Raymond Roussel (48:45): MP3

Norton Lecture on David Schubert, 1990

  • Introduction (2:50): MP3
  • Lecture: David Schubert: "This Is the Book That No One Knows" (39:32): MP3

Norton Lecture on John Wheelwright, 1990

  • Introduction (0:51): MP3
  • Lecture: "Why Must You Know:" The Poetry of John Wheelwright (50:29): MP3

These lectures were later revised and published as Other Traditions (Harvard University Press, 2001). Special thanks to the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University for providing these recordings.

Reading for the Modern Languages Auditorium, University of Arizona, September 12, 1990

  1. introduction (1:45): MP3
  2. And now I cannot remember how I would have had it (3:47): MP3
  3. Avant de quitter ces lieux (4:51): MP3
  4. Still Life with Stranger (1:25): MP3
  5. Hotel Lautreamont (6:40): MP3
  6. In Vain, Therefore (1:00): MP3
  7. From Palookaville (3:32): MP3
  8. Notes from the Air (2:40): MP3
  9. Autumn Telegram (2:21): MP3
  10. Korean Soap Opera (4:23): MP3
  11. from Flow Chart (9:22): MP3
Complete Recording (45:01): MP3 [note: recording cuts off at the end]

"Poets Reading in the Village", April 25, 1991

Complete recording (37:42): MP3

  1. Introduction (3:00): MP3
  2. Elephant Visitors (1:59): MP3
  3. The Youth's Magic Horn (3:06): MP3
  4. Withered Compliments (1:17): MP3
  5. In My Way / On My Way (5:12): MP3
  6. Private Syntax (1:18): MP3
  7. Korean Soap Opera (4:10): MP3
  8. Of Linnets and Dull Time (1:06): MP3
  9. From Flow Chart (15:21): MP3

Tracks 2-8 can be found in Hotel Lautréamont (1992), track 9 is from Flow Chart (1991)

Reading excerpts from Flow Chart on WBAI Radio, New York. April 25, 1991

Complete recording (16:53): MP3

Reading and interview on The Book Show, 1992

Hosted by Tom Smith, The Book Show was produced by the New York State Writers Institute at SUNY Albany.
On this program, Ashbery discusses Flow Chart (1991) and Hotel Lautréamont (1992).
  1. reading "Light Turnouts" (0:43): MP3
  2. introduction (0:56): MP3
  3. the writing of Hotel Lautreamont and the figure of Lautreamont (3:43): MP3
  4. discussing the title poem and the implications of the hotel (3:58): MP3
  5. when the poems in Hotel Lautreamont were written in relation to Flow Chart (1:21): MP3
  6. deciding to write short v. long poems (2:55): MP3
  7. the evolution of Flow Chart (1:10): MP3
  8. Ashbery describing his writing process (3:44): MP3
  9. cultural noise as inspiration and all-inclusivness as an overriding aesthetic concern (3:15): MP3
  10. abstract expressionism in relation to his poetry (2:13): MP3
Complete program (25:09): MP3

Reading of "Syringa" for WNYC's 50th Anniversary, June 13, 1994

Appearing on Lyrikmagasinet, Sveriges Radio, Sweden, May 15, 1996

  1. sleep in relation to Ashbery's poetry (0:41): MP3
  2. reading from "Sleepers Awake" (0:26): MP3
  3. on having fun when writing (0:46): MP3
  4. joking that the sound of his name is associated with great pain and difficulty (0:18): MP3
  5. on his family (0:55): MP3
  6. reading from "The Painter" (0:41): MP3
  7. on engaging with poetry through the work of John Cage (0:37): MP3
  8. music in relation to his writing (0:38): MP3
  9. reading from "Marchenbilder" (0:53): MP3
  10. on Andersen's Tin Soldier (0:21): MP3
  11. on the mystery and ambiguity in Whitman's poetry (0:28): MP3
  12. Ashbery rereading Whitman in his late 20s (0:27): MP3
  13. on feeling trapped and building a fantasy (0:16): MP3
  14. reading "Can You Hear, Bird" (1:18): MP3
  15. on beginning with the title when writing poems (0:25): MP3
  16. reading "Coming Down From New York" and on knowing when to end the poem (0:57): MP3
  17. on letting the poem take on its own shape (0:28): MP3
  18. line breaks as one of the most enjoyable parts of writing poetry (0:25): MP3
  19. reading from "My Philosophy of Life" (0:37): MP3
  20. reading from "My Philosophy of Life" (final lines) (0:24): MP3

complete program (43:28): MP3

Reading for Wednesdays @ 4Plus, University at Buffalo, October 12, 1996

Ashbery reads at Robert Creeley's 70th birthday celebration. Introduction by Susan Schultz (hosted by Charles Bernstein)

Complete Reading (48:37): MP3

  1. Introduction of Susan Schultz by Charles Bernstein (1:13): MP3
  2. Introduction of John Ashbery by Susan Schultz (6:04): MP3
  3. Ashbery's Opening Comments (2:47): MP3
  4. A Waking Dream (2:04): MP3
  5. Opening Comments to "...by an Earthquake"(1:41): MP3
  6. ...by an Earthquake (8:53): MP3
  7. Chapter 2. Book 35. (2:52): MP3
  8. Opening Comments for "Debit Night" (1:11): MP3
  9. Debit Night (5:38): MP3
  10. Come On, Dear (2:22): MP3
  11. Baltimore (0:48): MP3
  12. Cousin Sarah's Knitting (2:26): MP3
  13. Last Night I Dreamed I Was In Bucharest (1:17): MP3
  14. Added Poignancy (2:52): MP3
  15. Laughing Gravy (0:46): MP3
  16. Moderately (3:48): MP3

Complete Video Recording

Appearing on BBC Radio 3, Contemporary American Poetry Program, July 24, 1999

Complete Reading (19:48): MP3

  1. Introduction (3:36): MP3
  2. The Painter (2:45): MP3
  3. Farm Implements and Rudabagas in a Landscape (4:32): MP3
  4. What Is Poetry (2:04): MP3
  5. At North Farm (1:29): MP3
  6. At First I Thought I Wouldn't Say Anything About It (1:45): MP3
  7. No Longer Very Clear (2:09): MP3
  8. Like America (1:20): MP3

From The Voice of the Poet, 2001

  1. Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror (I: "As Parmigianino did it") (8:16): MP3
  2. Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (II: "Tomorrow is easy but today is uncharted") (6:07): MP3
  3. Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (III: "A breeze like the turning of a page") (11:41): MP3
  4. Soonest Mended (4:35): MP3

Kelly Writers House Fellow, 2002

Reading at the Kelly Writers House, March 25, 2002

  • complete reading (59:03): MP3

  1. Introduction (10:27): MP3
  2. This Room (2:51): MP3
  3. If You Said You Would Come With Me (3:28): MP3
  4. A Linnet (1:24): MP3
  5. The Bobinski Brothers (1:30): MP3
  6. Merrily We Live (3:32): MP3
  7. Invasive Procedures (2:46): MP3
  8. Memories of Imperialism (2:23): MP3
  9. Strange Occupations (1:45): MP3
  10. Full Tilt (1:58): MP3
  11. Heartache (2:03): MP3
  12. Onion Skin (0:18): MP3
  13. Redeemed Area (2:35): MP3
  14. Crossroads in the Past (1:48): MP3
  15. The Underwriters (2:34): MP3
  16. A Nice Presentation (3:08): MP3
  17. Disagreeable Glimpses (5:41): MP3
  18. Runway (1:52): MP3
  19. As Umbrellas Follow Rain (6:13): MP3

In discussion with Al Filreis, March 26th, 2002

Complete discussion (1:03:44): MP3

  1. introduction by Al Filreis (7:36): MP3
  2. memory and age (2:36): MP3
  3. "Crossroads in the Past" and "Enjoys Watching Foreign Films" (5:03): MP3
  4. prose and verse (3:59): MP3
  5. Harvard lectures (2:58): MP3
  6. Delmore Schwartz (3:25): MP3
  7. unknown, "minor" poets (5:54): MP3
  8. confessional poems (3:08): MP3
  9. narrative poetry (1;07): MP3
  10. on publishing (6:35): MP3
  11. reading Ashbery in anthologies and "The One Thing That Can Save America" (3:01): MP3
  12. connections to music and visual art (2:54): MP3
  13. influence of Delmore Schwartz (4:55): MP3
  14. the space between self and poetry (2:47): MP3
  15. current writing process (3:39): MP3
  16. comparison and jealousy (1:50): MP3
  17. "Enjoys Watching Foreign Films" (2:19): MP3

For more information on Ashbery's visit, and video footage of both events, please visit the Kelly Writers House Fellows Program site.

From The Key West Literary Seminar, 2003

Lecture on Elizabeth Bishop (12:04): MP3
(more information at Littoral)
Reading from Chinese Whispers (25:03): MP3
  1. Nice Presentation (3:20): MP3
  2. Disagreeable Glimpses (5:50): MP3
  3. Theme Park Days (1:54): MP3
  4. Why Not Sneeze? (1:06): MP3
  5. View of Delft (1:13): MP3
  6. The Lightning Conductor (2:25): MP3
  7. I Asked Mr. Dithers Whether It Was Time Yet He Said No to Wait (1:11): MP3
  8. Local Legend (2:49): MP3
  9. Runway (1:40): MP3
  10. The Business of Falling Asleep (2) (3:24): MP3

John Ashbery appears on "France Culture" on Radio France, February 12, 2003

John Ashbery, Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series, Beinecke Library, September 20, 2006

  1. introduction by Langdon Hammer (3:14): MP3
  2. Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (2:24): MP3
  3. Days of Reckoning (2:22): MP3
  4. Coma Berenices (11:22): MP3
  5. The New Higher (1:32): MP3
  6. Interesting People of Newfoundland (2:57): MP3
  7. Heavy Home (2:16): MP3
  8. The Love Interest (1:05): MP3
  9. The Black Prince (0:41): MP3
  10. Lacrimae Rerun (1:36): MP3
  11. A Kind of Chill (0:56): MP3
  12. Filigrane (1:57): MP3
  13. Opposition to a Memorial (2:07): MP3
  14. Pavane pour Helen Twelvetrees (2:51): MP3
  15. Phantoum (4:07): MP3
  16. Thrill of a Romance (1:48): MP3
  17. A Wordly Country (2:38): MP3
complete reading (46:47): MP3

Recording courtesy Beinecke, thanks to Nancy Kuhl

Staged Reading of John Ashbery's play "The Compromise"

Theatre Metropole, Paris, France, March 5, 2007

  1. Introduction (0:54): MP3
  2. Act One (32:08): MP3
  3. Act Two (27:24): MP3
  4. Act Three (36:13): MP3

Mo Pitkin's, New York

June 6, 2007

Reading with Charles Bernstein

Sponsored by Poetry magazine & McSweeney's "Chain" issue

Note: Lynn Emmanuel read first at this event but her reading was not on the CD provided to PennSound.

  • John Ashbery Introduction (1:13) MP3
  • Full Reading by John Ashbery: (22:44) MP3

Ashbery reads from A Worldly Country

  1. A Worldly Country (3:26): MP3
  2. To Be Affronted (1:58): MP3
  3. Opposition to a Memorial (2:17): MP3
  4. For Now (1:36): MP3
  5. Image Problem (1:34): MP3
  6. A Kind of Chill (0:48): MP3
  7. Well-Scrubbed Interior (1:15): MP3
  8. Thrill of a Romance (1:37): MP3
  9. Phantoum (4:08): MP3
  10. So Long, Santa (1:53): MP3

Reading Pierre Martory at "Poets in the Sheep Meadow Fold," AWP, New York, February 2, 2008

John Ashbery's portion of the program (16:37):
MP3

Complete program (1:10:07): MP3

Reading at Haverford College, February 19, 2008

Complete reading (37:00): MP3

  1. Introduction (0:50): MP3
  2. Discussing Hotel Lautréamont (2:10) MP3
  3. Hotel Lautréamont (2:10) MP3
  4. This Room (0:40) MP3
  5. If You Said You Would Come With Me (2:48) MP3
  6. A Linnet (1:24): MP3
  7. The Bobinski Brothers (1:24): MP3
  8. Merrily We Live (2:46): MP3
  9. The History of My Life (0:45): MP3
  10. Redeemed Area (2:26): MP3
  11. Stanzas Before Time (0:31): MP3
  12. Crossroads in the Past (1:48): MP3
  13. A Nice Presentation (2:24): MP3
  14. Disagreeable Glimpses (5:42): MP3
  15. Sonnet: More of Same (1:00): MP3
  16. A Worldly Country (2:34): MP3

Please note: the quality of this recording, which was taken from a videotape of the event, is less than optimal; however we felt that its significance merited our posting it, and have done our best to make the audio as clear as possible

Reading and Forum at The New School, April 15, 2008

  1. Introduction by David Lehman (4:16): MP3
  2. A Mood of Quiet Beauty (1:24): MP3
  3. Alone in the Lumber Business (2:47): MP3
  4. Notes from the Air (2:50): MP3
  5. Still Life With Stranger (1:18): MP3
  6. Hotel Lautreamont (6:31): MP3
  7. This Room (0:41): MP3
  8. If You Said You Would Come With Me (2:35): MP3
  9. Merrily We Live (2:48): MP3
  10. The History of My Life (0:48): MP3
  11. Memories of Imperialism (2:13): MP3
  12. He Who Loves and Runs Away (1:36): MP3
  13. Translation of Pierre Reverdy, "Haunted House" (4:48): MP3
  14. Questions and Discussion (parts of recording missing) (23:18): MP3

PoemTalk Podcast #9, discussing Ashbery's "Crossroads in the Past," August 13, 2008

Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

From State of the Union: a Poetry Reading, at the CUNY Graduate Center, October 30, 2008

  1. Annuals and Perennials (1:07): MP3
  2. Decoy (2:26): MP3
complete reading (5:58): MP3 (note: recording cuts off at the end)

New York Review of Books Podcast, 2009

John Ashbery reads his selections from among the poems he has published in the New York Review of Books, recorded on February 21, 2009 at the offices of the New York Review of Books. Introduced by Jana Prikryl. Originally broadcast on April 1, 2009, as part of the Review's podcast series.

  1. introduction (0:39): MP3
  2. from Planisphere

  3. Structures in Sand (0:56): MP3
  4. Working Overtime (0:47): MP3
  5. Episode (1:29): MP3
  6. Summer Reading (1:12): MP3
  7. from A Worldly Country

  8. introduction to "Pavane pour Helen Twelvetrees" (2:20): MP3
  9. Pavane por Helen Twelvetrees (2:22): MP3
  10. Image Problem (1:26): MP3
  11. discussion of "Strayed Reveler" (0:26): MP3
  12. from Where Shall I Wander

  13. Days of Reckoning (1:55): MP3
  14. Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse (1:34): MP3
  15. from Chinese Whispers

  16. Mordred (2:19): MP3
  17. Random Jottings of an Old Man (1:51): MP3
  18. from Your Name Here

  19. Crossroads in the Past (1:43): MP3
  20. This Room (0:36): MP3
  21. from Can You Hear, Bird?

  22. By Guess and by Gosh (1:50): MP3
  23. from Hotel Lautreamont

  24. On the Empress's Mind (1:39): MP3
  25. From Estuaries, from Casinos (3:53): MP3
  26. from Shadow Train

  27. Qualm (1:13): MP3
  28. closing remarks (0:27): MP3

complete recording (31:25): MP3

Reading at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, New York, May 14, 2009

  1. introduction by Charles North (7:19): MP3
  2. A Worldly Country (2:25): MP3
  • complete reading (13:58): MP3 (note: recording cuts off prematurely)

Reading at the Princeton Poetry Festival, 2009

  1. Day 1 Intro (2:48): MP3
  2. Reading (14:31): MP3
  3. Day 1 Evening Intro (8:45): MP3
  4. Day 1 Evening Reading (38:12): MP3

Reading for the Lannan Series, Georgetown, February 2, 2010

Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.

At the Tibor de Nagy Gallery 60th Anniversary Program at The New School, New York, January 31, 2011

Conversation with Jane Freilicher (moderated by Jenni Quilter) (14:25):
MP3
  1. introduction (2:25): MP3
  2. Freilicher recalling how she and Ashbery met (2:19): MP3
  3. on Mounting Tensions and Rudy Burckhardt (2:42): MP3
  4. on their first memories of the Tibor De Nagy Gallery (1:32): MP3
  5. Ashbery on working as an art critic and the influence of Freilicher's work on his poetry (5:07): MP3
  • Complete Program Part One (1:19:57): MP3
  • Complete Program Part Two (28:47): MP3

(with Andrew Lampert, Bill Berkson, Ron Padgett, Douglas Crase, and Eric Brown)

Reading for the Readings in Contemporary Poetry series at Dia Art Foundation, New York:Chelsea, March 10, 2011

with Paolo Javier

  • from Planisphere (Ecco, 2009) and Ashbery's translation of Rimbaud's Illuminations (Norton, 2010) (40:17): MP3

Interview for Poetry Magazine Podcast, with Curtis Fox, April 1, 2011