## 09/12/2004

A series of impressive testimonials to Ashbery in the comments to this post by Michael Snider; read Andrew Epstein's lengthy comment. We take Ashbery for granted, in some sense. That is, we assume that we don't have to make the case for him again and again. But this is not really the case: there will always be new readers, or old ones who just were never convinced. I remember being virtually the only one in my university/town who was into Ashbery. (This was in the late 1970s in Davis, California.) There was one sort of review that would be written repeatedly, by different hands, claiming that Ashbery made no sense, that he was essentially a fraud. This was after the triple prize book of 1975. A famous poet giving a reading told me that Ashbery had no ear. Hah! The poet telling me this was Robert Bly, surely one of the worst minds of his generation.