Below are John Ashbery’s poem “A Breakfast Radish” final and a draft of that poem, originally printed in the 92Y program as part of his appearance on April 3, 2014, as well as a short audio excerpt from his Introductions Winners reading in 1952.
A Breakfast Radish
Whatever we’re dealing with catches us
in mid-reconsideration. It’s beautiful,
my lord, just not made to be repeated,
Counterterrorists have already invaded parts of England
and Spain. Your action dollar at work.
Deception figures in quite a few precious things,
although, as I say, it’s a small remnant
of what others have achieved to avoid being singed.
We have a special on revenge tragedy.
March is going to be a heavier day.
The girls talked about getting ready.
When they do, in this or that glen,
looks can be deceiving, he stressed.