The Experience Of Experience

Irondequoit Bay from front porch of MacGregors on Empire Boulevard in Rochester, New York

John Ashbery grew up in Sodus NY, near where our literary friends just bought a house, and he went to school in Rochester, later living on Dartmouth Street where Peggi and I lived when we moved (back here in my case) from Indiana. I di not know much about him until died. I still don’t but I love the snippets o poetry hat have been quoted in his obits and related remembrances.

“I feel the carousel starting slowly
And going faster and faster: desk, papers, books,
Photographs of friends, the window and the trees,
Merging into one neutral band that surrounds
Me on all sides, everywhere I look.
And I cannot explain the action of leveling,
Why it should all boil down to one
Uniform substance, a magma of interiors.”

Ashbery claimed that he was trying to convey “the experience of experience.” What a noble pursuit.


One Response to “The Experience Of Experience”

  1. Louise Wareham Says:

    Wow, Ashbery land! He is the emperor of words, sometimes incomprehensible, but then he comes out with something unforgettable. I liked his first book of poems so much. It is called Some Trees. I took it to New Zealand with me as a favorite I didn’t want to lose and ended up giving it to a book reviewer there as a thank you gift. I will likely not see it again. For some reason, the following lines , let’s hope I remember them correctly, have always haunted me.

    Don’t make me go there again, the white is too painful
    The sleeping river said to the awake land…

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Louise Wareham