Three Poems

John Ashbery,

Three Poems
 
 
A provocative, challenging masterpiece by John Ashbery that set a new standard for the modern prose poem

“The pathos and liveliness of ordinary human communication is poetry to me,” John Ashbery has said of this controversial work, a collection of three long prose poems originally published in 1972, adding, “Three Poems tries to stay close to the way we talk and think without expecting what we say to be recorded or remembered.”
 
The effect of these prose poems is at once deeply familiar and startlingly new, something like encountering a collage made of lines clipped from every page of a beloved book—or, as Ashbery has also said of this work, like flipping through television channels and hearing an unwritten, unscriptable story told through unexpected combinations of voices, settings, and scenes.
 
In Three Poems, Ashbery reframes prose poetry as an experience that invites the reader in through an infinite multitude of doorways, and reveals a common language made uncommonly real.
 


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