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Date(s) - 03/28/2019 - 04/03/2019
All Day

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And finally, a poem about the thing we all love to discuss, but can’t do a thing about . . .

Crazy Weather

by John Ashbery

It’s this crazy weather we’ve been having:

falling forward one minute, lying down the next

among the loose grasses and soft, white, nameless flowers.

People have been making a garment out of it,

stitching the white of lilacs together with lightning

at some anonymous crossroads. The sky calls

to the deaf earth. The proverbial disarray

of morning corrects itself as you stand up.

You are wearing a text. The lines

droop to your shoelaces and I shall never want or need

any other literature than this poetry of mud

and ambitious reminiscences of times when it came easily

through the then woods and ploughed fields and had

a simple unconscious dignity we can never hope to

approximate now except in narrow ravines nobody

will inspect where some late sample of the rare,

uninteresting specimen might still be putting out shoots,

for all we know.

John Ashbery (1927 – 2017) was recognized as one of the greatest 20th-century American poets. He won nearly every major American award for poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Ashbery’s poetry challenges its readers to discard all presumptions about the aims, themes, and stylistic scaffolding of verse in favor of a literature that reflects upon the limits of language and the volatility of consciousness. In 2008, critic Langdon Hammer remarked, “No figure looms so large in American poetry over the past 50 years as John Ashbery.”