John Ashbery (b. 1927)


Performing Everyman at Christ Church Parish House, Cambridge, MA, February 26, 1951. Staring Connaught O'Connell as Columbine, David Bowen as Everyman and Jerry Kohn as Death Provided by: The Poets' Theater and Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard Univeristy Library

Everyman (13:23): MP3 Reading at The Living Theatre, New York City, September 16, 1963
  1. Introduction by Kenneth Koch (2:35): MP3
  2. From Rivers and Mountains (1966) (except for those marked with *)

  3. Rivers and Mountains (3:57): MP3
  4. The Ecclesiast (2:32): MP3
  5. The Adirondacks* (3:26): MP3
  6. These Lacustrine Cities (1:40): MP3
  7. Balance of Payments (3:02): MP3
  8. To a Waterfowl* (3:07): MP3
  9. Into the Dusk-Charged Air (3:55): MP3
  10. from Some Trees (1956)

  11. Two Scenes (1:07): MP3
  12. Popular Songs (1:39): MP3
  13. The Instruction Manual (5:28): MP3
  14. Sonnet ("Each servant stamps the reader with a look") (0:44): MP3
  15. The Young Son (1:26): MP3
  16. And You Know (3:44): MP3
  17. from The Tennis Court Oath (1962)

  18. "They Dream Only of America" (1:09): MP3
  19. The Suspended Life (4:15): MP3
  20. A Life Drama (3:02): MP3
  21. Our Youth (1:58): MP3
  22. Landscape (1:25): MP3
  23. A Last World (cuts off abruptly) (0:56): MP3
Interview with Bruce Kawin on WKCR Radio, May 5, 1966

Complete Reading (27:38): MP3

Reading at YM-YWHA, with an introduction by Richard Howard. Episode #23157: "The Poetry of John Ashbery," March 27, 1967

Complete Reading (20:22): MP3

Appearing at Poetry's 19th Annual Poetry Day, WFMT Chicago, November 17, 1973

Note: Ashbery read with John Hollander at this reading, as is alluded to in the introduction

Complete recording (41:25): MP3

From Some Trees (1956)

  1. Introduction (3:03): MP3
  2. Two Scenes (1:30): MP3
  3. Popular Songs (1:40): MP3
  4. The Grapevine (0:35): MP3
  5. Glazunoviana (0:32): MP3
  6. Sonnet ("Each servant stamps the reader with a look.") (0:45): MP3
  7. And You Know (3:52): MP3
  8. from The Tennis Court Oath (1962)

  9. They Dream Only of America (1:25): MP3
  10. Thoughts of a Young Girl (0:39): MP3
  11. Faust (2:28): MP3
  12. From The Double Dream of Spring (1970)

  13. Soonest Mended (5:07): MP3
  14. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (9:28): MP3
  15. from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975)

  16. Forties Flick (1:45): MP3
  17. On Autumn Lake (2:04): MP3
  18. Scheherazade (4:31): MP3
Reading for WBAI-FM, Produced by Susan Howe, New York, May 14 and June 7, 1975

Complete reading, May 14 (32:41): MP3

  1. Business Personals (5:09): MP3
  2. Syringa (5:28): MP3
  3. Worsening Situation (2:21): MP3
  4. Forties Flick (1:33): MP3
  5. As You Came from the Holy Land (2:05): MP3
  6. Scheherazade (3:57): MP3
  7. The Tomb of Stuart Merrill (2:56): MP3
  8. The One Thing that Can Save America (2:20): MP3
  9. As One Put Drunk into the Packet Boat (2:22): MP3
  10. Oleum Misericordiae (2:19): MP3

Complete reading, June 7 (20:04): MP3

  1. Daffy Duck in Hollywood (7:55): MP3
  2. And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (1:53): MP3
  3. Unctuous Platitudes (1:11): MP3
  4. Explaination (2:09): MP3
  5. On the Towpath (2:30): MP3
  6. Mixed Feelings (2:05): MP3
Potpourri of Poetry Reading at the Naropa Institute, Summer 1975

John Ashbery's segment (reading "Wet Casements") (3:19): MP3

Reading in Buffalo, October 15, 1975

Complete reading (46:15): MP3

  1. Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (2:52): MP3
  2. Summer (1:34): MP3
  3. It Was Raining in the Capitol (2:40): MP3
  4. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler WIlcox (10:22): MP3
  5. The Chateau Hardware (0:38): MP3
  6. The Task (1:19): MP3
  7. Parergon (2:31): MP3
  8. Soonest Mended (4:47): MP3
  9. The New Spirit (excerpt) (6:45): MP3
  10. Worsening Situation (1:55): MP3
  11. Scheherazade (4:20): MP3
  12. Mixed Feelings (2:41): MP3
Reading at Sanders Theater, Harvard University, sponsored by the Woodberry Poetry Room, May 16, 1976

complete reading (1:07:10): MP3

  1. introduction (1:14): MP3
  2. Street Musicians (1:36): MP3
  3. Pyrography (6:19): MP3
  4. Bird's Eye View of the Tool and Die Co. (1:10): MP3
  5. Collective Dawns (2:40): MP3
  6. The Couple in the Next Room (0:42): MP3
  7. Variant (1:08): MP3
  8. Daffy Duck in Hollywood (9:19): MP3
  9. Melodic Trains (3:32): MP3
  10. Wet Casements (1:44): MP3
  11. The Wrong Kind of Insurance (2:45): MP3
  12. Business Personals (4:35): MP3
  13. Unctuous Platitudes (1:07): MP3
  14. Friends (2:06): MP3
  15. The Lament Upon the Waters (2:45): MP3
  16. Worsening Situation (2:32): MP3
  17. Poem in Three Parts: Love, Courage, I Love the Sea (3:22): MP3
  18. Mixed Feelings (2:05): MP3
  19. Oleum Misericordiae (3:01): MP3
  20. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (9:13): MP3
  21. Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (3:04): MP3
Courtesy of the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard University.


Reading at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, May 17, 1977

part one (42:25): MP3

  1. introduction (4:20): MP3
  2. passage from The New Spirit (20:52): MP3
  3. Street Musicians (1:37): MP3
  4. The Other Traditions (2:17): MP3
  5. Collective Dawns (2:57): MP3
  6. Wooden Buildings (1:13): MP3
  7. Pyrogaphy (ends prematurely) (7:38): MP3

part two (16:36): MP3

  1. Daffy Duck in Hollywood (beginning cut off) (7:09): MP3
  2. Blue Sonata (8:46): MP3
Appearing with Barbara Guest on P.E.N. Portraits, hosted by Anne Fremantle, WNYC, May 22, 1977

Complete program (28:52): MP3

Poems from the program:

Complete reading (46:15): MP3

  1. And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (1:49): MP3
  2. What Is Poetry (0:43): MP3
  3. From Three Poems (1:02): MP3
Reading at the Ear Inn with Michael Lally, September 16, 1978

complete reading (1:23:44): MP3

  • A Box and Its Contents (8:22): MP3
  • The Cathedral Is (0:12) MP3
  • Silhouette (7:15) MP3
  • from Litany (20:05) MP3
Reading at the Science Center, Harvard University, November 9, 1978

  1. introduction (0:48): MP3
  2. Worsening Situation (2:53): MP3
  3. Oleum Misericordia (3:44): MP3
  4. The Other Tradition (2:43): MP3
  5. The Ice-Cream Wars (2:39): MP3
  6. Blue Sonata (3:01): MP3
  7. Fantasia on a Nut Brown Maid (7:29): MP3
  8. The Sun (2:18): MP3
  9. Five Pedantic Pieces (3:03): MP3
  10. The Haunted Landscape (5:19): MP3
  11. My Erotic Double (1:10): MP3
  12. Seeing is Believing (0:36): MP3
  13. Knocking Around (3:05): MP3
  14. Train Rising Out of the Sea (3:27): MP3
  15. The Cathedral Is (2:09): MP3
  16. A Sparkler (2:13): MP3
  17. The Wine (1:56): MP3
  18. Sleeping in the Corners of Our Lives (1:28): MP3
  19. The Other Cindy (2:24): MP3
  20. Landscape People (1:25): MP3
  21. The Plural of Jack-in-the-Box (0:55): MP3
  22. Litany (16:24): MP3
This recording is made available courtesy of the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University.

Lecture on Giorgio de Chirico at the Poetry Project, NYC, March 22, 1979

part one (38:17): MP3
part two (30:28): MP3

The Songs We Know Best, 1973 and 1988

Complete reading (61:40): MP3

Side One

  1. Two Scenes (1:08): MP3
  2. The Instruction Manual (7:05): MP3
  3. And You Know (4:26): MP3
  4. Thoughts of a Young Girl (0:46): MP3
  5. It was Raining in the Capital (3:21): MP3
  6. Far Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (4:07): MP3
  7. And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (3:15): MP3
  8. Landscape (After Baudelaire) (2:06): MP3
  9. The Songs We Know Best (4:09):MP3

All selections on side one were recordered at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., on Febrauary 29, 1988. Special thanks to Gigi Bradford.

Side Two

  1. Sonnet ("Each servant stamps the reader...") (0:46): MP3
  2. "How Much Longer Will I Be Able to Inhabit the Divine Sepulcher..." (4:29): MP3
  3. Rivers and Mountains (3:47): MP3
  4. The Task (1:23): MP3
  5. Song (1:27): MP3
  6. The New Spirit (excerpt) (17:59): MP3

All selections on side two were recorded at the Library of Congress Recording Lab, Washington D.C., January 16, 1973.

  • STAFF:
  • Producer: Anne Becker
  • Recording Engineer: Alan D. Austin (Side One)
  • Post Production Engineer: Anne Becker
  • Cover Design:Lynn Springer

Production of this tape was made possible in part by a grant from the Literature Program of the National Endowment for the Arts

"Litany," recorded with Ann Lauterbach, 1980

"Litany" originally appeared in As We Know (1979). A brief excerpt of this session previously appeared on the Giorno Poetry Systems album, Sugar, Alcohol and Meat in 1980.

  • "Litany" part 1 (15:49): MP3
  • "Litany" part 2 (54:40): MP3
  • "Litany" part 3 (14:08): MP3
Reading at the University of Arizona, November 4, 1980
  1. Complete Reading, part one (44:56): MP3
  2. Complete Reading, part two (12:15): MP3
Appearing with Robert Creeley in "Attitudes Towards the Flame," part of "The Territory of Art" radio series, produced and (c) by Museum of Comtemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1983

written by Julia Brown, produced by Ara Guzelimian

  • Complete Program (28:40): MP3
John Ashbery reads along with Abish, Mirsky, Paley, Ziegler, and others at "Graz Nordamerika," Austria, 1982
  • Complete Reading (1:54:53): MP3
Appearing on NPR's Morning Edition for the Academy of American Poets' 50th Anniversary, September 22, 1983
  • Complete Recording (4:41): MP3
Reading at Harvard University as part of the Morris Gray Lecture Series, October 16, 1985

Provided by: The Poets' Theater and Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard Univeristy Library

  1. introductionn (4:08): MP3
  2. The Task (5:05): MP3
  3. Variations, Calypso and Fugue on a Theme of Ella Wheeler Wilcox (12:07): MP3
  4. For John Clare (4:26): MP3
  5. The Chateau Hardware (0:49): MP3
  6. The Other Tradition (2:45): MP3
  7. The Couple in the Next Room (0:55): MP3
  8. And Ut Pictura Poesis is Her Name (0:49): MP3
  9. At North Farm (1:59): MP3
  10. The Songs We Know Best (4:24): MP3
  11. Landscape (After Baudelaire) (1:57): MP3
  12. A Wave (excerpt): (5:59): MP3
  13. A Mood of Quiet Beauty (1:13): MP3
  14. October at the Window (2:41): MP3
  15. Disguised Zenith (1:49): MP3
  16. Forgotten Song (2:28): MP3
  17. Vetiver (2:36): MP3
  18. Vaucanson (3:05): MP3
  19. Someone You Have Seen Before (5:45): MP3
Reading at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM, November 20, 1985

Complete Recording (1:17:41): MP3

  1. Introduction (1:27): MP3
  2. Two Scenes (2:33): MP3
  3. Popular Letters (2:16): MP3
  4. Thoughts of a Young Girl (1:21): MP3
  5. The New Realism (2:13): MP3
  6. Plainness and Diversity (1:56): MP3
  7. Variations, Calypso and Feud (11:55): MP3
  8. Chateau Hardware (0:46): MP3
  9. Worsening Situation (2:48): MP3
  10. The Other Tradition (2:33): MP3
  11. The Gazing Grain (1:26): MP3
  12. And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name (3:26): MP3
  13. At North Farm (2:26): MP3
  14. The Songs We Know Best (4:18): MP3
  15. Tableaux Parisiens (2:07): MP3
  16. More Pleasant Adventures (1:30): MP3
  17. A Wave (6:41): MP3
  18. Finished Rapsody (7:19): MP3
  19. Vettiver (2:11): MP3
  20. A Mood of Quiet (1:03): MP3
  21. October at the Window (2:53): MP3
  22. Forgotten Song (2:56): MP3
  23. Someone You Have Seen Before (4:49): MP3
WQXR Radio Program, New York, April 8, 1986

Academy of American Poets Discussion with John Ashbery, Ned Rorem and June LeBell

Part One (31:56): MP3
  1. setting poetry to music (4:46): MP3
  2. appropriate poems and appropriate music (6:05): MP3
  3. the singer's experience (2:05): MP3
  4. on phrasing "Thoughts of a Young Girl" (3:15): MP3
  5. reading and discussing "Fear of Death;" on composers in poetry (5:19): MP3
  6. on having poetry set to music by Elliot Carter (7:12): MP3
  7. on poets reading their own poetry, and the human voice (3:11): MP3
Part Two (7:25): MP3
on the history and mission of the Academy of American Poets

Complete Conversation, recorded April 30, (52:53): MP3

New Letters on the Air: a production of New Letters Magazine, University of Missouri, Kansas City, August 1986