“Some Trees,” Ashbery, and O’Hara

In a blog post at Jacket2, Al Filreis talks about his obsession with John Ashbery’s “Some Trees” and uses a passage from my book Beautiful Enemies to support the hypothesis that the poem is actually a love poem for Frank O’Hara.

The idea that Ashbery’s reference to “accents” in the poem’s last lines may have something to do with the nasal twang Ashbery felt he shared with O’Hara is tantalizing.  However, I think it’s unlikely that “Some Trees” is a love poem about O’Hara — not least because their relationship was, by all accounts, not a romantic one, but rather a close platonic friendship from beginning to end.  But who knows?  They were young and reckless and still in college at the time!  As I argue in the book, Ashbery spent a lot of time writing in subtle and oblique ways about his relationship with O’Hara, so I for one support this line of argument!

Now on Twitter!

After years of resisting taking the plunge, I just created a Twitter account.  If anyone’s interested, it’s @AndrewEpstein3.  I’m not sure if I’m going to use it much, but am hoping to offer occasional thoughts and links about poetry and poetics, literature, academia, music, art, and other things that interest me.  Or at least find a new way of wasting time on the web.

New essay in Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature

I’m very pleased to have an essay of mine included in a great-looking new collection, The Routledge Companion to Experimental Writing, edited by Joe Bray, Alison Gibbons, and Brian McHale (Routledge 2012).

It’s a big book, filled with great stuff, including chapters by Charles Bernstein, R.M. Berry, Brian McHale, N. Katherine Hayles, Tyrus Miller, Ben Lee, Amy Elias.  My piece is “Found Poetry, ‘Uncreative Writing,’ and the Art of Appropriation,” and it discusses the history of appropriation, sampling, borrowing, and other such practices in literature and the arts, before turning to contemporary developments like the Conceptual poetry of Kenneth Goldsmith and the movement known as Flarf.

New essay on Wallace Stevens and Francis Ponge

My essay on Wallace Stevens and Francis Ponge, “‘The Rhapsody of Things as They Are’: Stevens, Francis Ponge, and the Impossible Everyday,” has just been published in The Wallace Stevens Journal 36.1 (Spring 2012). It’s part of an exciting special issue devoted to “Stevens and the Everyday,” which features essays by Siobhan Phillips, Charles Altieri, and others.

My essay grows out of the work I’m doing for my next book, Attention Equals Life:The Pursuit of the Everyday in Contemporary Poetry and Culture.