Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ashbery's poem "Europe"

From a letter Frank O'Hara wrote to Ashbery on July 14, 1960: "Europe is carrying all before it, it is on everyone's lips and in their heads."

In an undated letter (from around 1960) Kenneth Koch wrote to Ashbery to say that of all the poems Ashbery was sending over from Paris, poems which were to form The Tennis Court Oath, "Europe" was the most influential. Koch desperately says of this piece, "I can't seem to do what you do. Huh! All I want to do is imitate you" (letter dated January 25, 1960).

On January 7, 1960, O'Hara says of the "long poem" ("Europe"): it is "the most striking thing since The Waste Land."