John Ashberry

I’d rather read John Ashberry’s obituary than any of his poems.  This is because like most people I prefer story to poetry.

He once wrote poems in French and then translated them back into English in order to avoid customary word associations. (The poems are called, of course, “French Poems.”)

In an interview with The Times in 1999, Mr. Ashbery recalled that he and some childhood playmates “had a mythical kingdom in the woods.”

“Then my younger brother died just around the beginning of World War II,” he added. “The group dispersed for various reasons, and things were never as happy or romantic as they’d been, and my brother was no longer there.” He continued, “I think I’ve always been trying to get back to this mystical kingdom.”



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