Film, Music and Art in John Ashbery’s Poetry

August 12, 2020

By Nancy Kuhl

Well known on campus and around the world as a site of important historical documents of all kinds, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript is also a regional and national center of the living art of American Poetry. In addition to collecting significant contemporary poetry books and archives and hosting the Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series, a dynamic series of readings and related events on campus, the Beinecke’s Yale Collection of American Literature is co-sponsoring a Fall 2020 poetry seminar with the Departments of English and American Studies: Film, Music and Art in John Ashbery’s Poetry. Professor Karin Roffman, will lead the course.

Course description: A study of the poetry of John Ashbery (1927-2017) through examining the films, music, and art that provoked his imagination and structured and inhabited his poems. In the course, we study his original paintings and collages, read from his published art criticism, film and music reviews, and explore his off-the-cuff reactions to contemporary work in correspondence with friends. In short, we consider how he practiced and extended the art of American poetry through a vivid, lively, and continuous conversation with other arts. We also discuss critiques of the interdisciplinarity of Ashbery’s poetics in work by second generation New York School poets.
Completed student projects associated with the Beinecke Collections will be eligible for publication on the Beinecke Library website.