Reading John Ashbery from _As We Know_

Part I [17:38]
Part II [1:02:20]
Part III [16:16]
read by James Sanders and JLo

As We Know
John Ashbery
Penguin Classics, 1979
118 pages

We recorded this live on one day but paused after each section. Part II is a bit of a physical endurance test and I know my (James) eyes started to blur a bit towards the end, not helped by the fact that the lines in the two sections are not quite level. C'mon Penguin.

Ann Lauterbach has a pretty great essay about her encounter with "Litany" and her performances of it with Ashbery. She notes how it is another example of Ashbery's teaching "how to listen for the multiplicity, the plurality, of experience." Certainly, "Litany" has been an influence on the Atlanta Poets Group's investigation into the composition and performance of polyphonic poetry. In particular, "Litany" is a good example of the exploration of issues of inter- and independence of voices/parts: here one can't help but form relationships across the columns (hearing echoes), and yet one feels a certain coolness between the two, a separateness, voices together without dialogue (almost like small children who rather than play "with" each other instead play "near" each other). A good contrast to, say, Steve Benson's "Back," a recording of which will be coming soon. . .

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