The Poetry Center jumpstarts National Poetry Month with a pairing of two poets, John Ashbery and Mark Ford, who continue to delight in and explore the boundaries and function of modern verse.
John Ashbery, who began his career as a young winner of our Discovery Poetry Contest, returns to read from Quick Question, his latest collection of shrewd and playful poems. A book of translations of French writers including Mallarmé, Rimbaud and Roussel is forthcoming.
Acclaimed English poet Mark Ford (whom critic Helen Vendler once compared to Ashbery), reads from his Selected Poems, a diverse compilation that celebrates the mythic in the everyday.
Visit our partner Posman Books to purchase works by John Ashbery and Mark Ford.
Exclusive bookseller for Unterberg Poetry Center
John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia University, and went to France as a Fulbright Scholar in 1955, living there for much of the next decade.
His many collections include Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems (2007), which was awarded the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) won the three major American prizes—the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award—and an early book, Some Trees (1956), was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. The Library of America published the first volume of his collected poems in 2008.
Active in various areas of the arts throughout his career, he has served as executive editor of Art News and as art critic for New York magazine and Newsweek. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1988 to 1999. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and was a MacArthur Fellow from 1985 to 1990. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. He lives in New York.
Mark Ford was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1962. He has published three collections of poetry and a biography of the French writer Raymond Roussel. He has also translated Roussel's New Impressions of Africa, and is the editor of London: A History in Verse. He lives in London.
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