A few leaded panes, old beams, Fur, pleated muslin, a coral ring run together In a movement supporting the face, which swims Toward and away like the hand Except that it is in repose. It is what is Sequestered. Vasari says, "Francesco one day set himself To take his own portrait, looking at himself from that purpose In a convex mirror, such as is used by barbers. He accordingly caused a ball of wood to be made By a turner, and having divided it in half and Brought it to the size of the mirror, he set himself With great art to copy all that he saw in the glass," Chiefly his reflection, of which the portrait Is the reflection, of which the portrait Is the reflection once removed. The glass chose to reflect only what he saw Which was enough for his purpose: his image Glazed, embalmed, projected at a degree angle.
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The initial academic and press reviews were generally positive, and especially praised the titular poem. Not even in that collection did Ashbery maintain so continuous a level of what I am compelled to judge as poetic greatness. No one now writing poems in the English language is likelier than Ashbery to survive the severe judgments of time.
The book will be a major part of our imaginative history, and is an inevitable comfort in our current darkness. In , John N. Good God! Will we never catch up? This is the gaudy tightrope mode of Wallace Stevens, and few poets since Stevens have been able to escape the pit of arrant gibberish that yawns below.
In his eighth volume, Ashbery once again proves that he can. What is striking in his poems is not the absence of simple semantic logic but the implication of a rationality that lies just out of reach. Lanka, John N. Rodgers , and Shirley Williams. The NBCC Award came as a "great surprise", he later said, though he was widely expected to win the Pulitzer months ahead of its announcement.
Believing he could not possibly win both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, he attended the latter ceremony. He later recalled that, after they announced his name, "I was caught in probably the only spontaneous photograph of me that exists. He chose Ashbery as the winner essentially by default, despite his misgivings, and wrote an unenthusiastic preface for the collection.
It was originally part of the National Poetry Almanac, a project to publish daily essays on Poets. See Academy of American Poets By November , the list was expanded to include eight more entries compare archived versions of the list as it appeared on August 3, and November 28, It currently appears on Poets.
Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror - Poem by John Ashbery