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Unterberg Poetry Center

John Ashbery

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York. He won the Discovery Prize, then called the Introductions contest, in 1952.

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,
    that’s all.

    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.

  • Manuscript page

    John Ashbery manuscript

John Ashbery reads “Mythological Poet”

    • Listen: John Ashbery reciting Mythological Poet