Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Age of Ashberry

It's disappointing but unsurprising to see the poetry of John Ashberry again featured in The New Yorker. The magazine is completely resistant to literary change-- even as they take literature itself down with them.

Ashberry has been the establishment's chief pet poet for more than forty years now. His work is and has always been little more than competent; mildly interesting at best. After 45 years it's the same-old same-old.

What has poetry gained during his tenure as the face of the art?

When Ashberry started writing in the 1950's, poetry was relevant and popular. Recall that musicians Bob Dylan and the Beatles took their names from POETS-- such was the real prestige of the art form then. Who today knows the name Dylan Thomas? (The Beatles went so far as to borrow his interview technique with reporters, when their time came for the spotlight.)

The Age of Ashberry has been a total failure, yet the lit-establishment continues to promote him. Richard Nason's "Modern Dunciad" denounced Ashberry's influence in 1978! Now Nason is dead and forgotten, while mediocre Ashberry continues on.

This is a victory for no one.

1 comment:

Adam Hardin said...

You want to hear a funny and true and telling thing about Ashbery. He wrote an book-long poem, and its title is "Flowchart."

I want to get a shirt that says, "The Underground has Bukowski. Who do you got?"