Sunday 14 January 2007

Nice little interview with John Ashbery

This is from The New York Times.

"Your new collection of poems, “A Worldly Country,” reminds us of the demanding nature of your work and your resistance to personal confession. Do you think Americans are too enamored of their own life stories?

"Yes, I do. In my case, it is things that I don’t know yet that most interest me. My own autobiography is so uninteresting to me I have always thought it surely wouldn’t interest anyone else.

"As one of America’s most celebrated poets, you can’t really find your own life boring.
"I thought other people would find it boring. My mother was always telling me not to talk about myself or put myself forward. That’s where I got this idea. Whenever I went to visit a friend, she would say, “Don’t wear out your welcome.” I always worried about this throughout life: is my welcome wearing out at this particular moment?
"Which hasn’t kept you from publishing a very large quantity of poems, more than 20 collections in all.
"If I wrote much more, would anybody read it? Does anybody read it now? There can be such a thing as too much poetry, and I try not to write it."
Read the rest here.

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