2005 National Book Awards Finalist

Photo credit: Lynn Davis
John Ashbery
Where Shall I Wander: New Poems

Ashbery’s new poems express a sly playfulness, a tender theatricality, a surreal sensibility, and an urbane wit. They are especially sharp, arch, and complexly moody.

John Ashbery is the author of over twenty books of poetry, including Chinese Whispers (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002); Your Name Here (2000); Girls on the Run: A Poem (1999); Wakefulness (1998); Can You Hear, Bird (1995); And the Stars Were Shining (1994); Hotel Lautrémont (1992); Flow Chart (1991); April Galleons (1987); A Wave (1984), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award; and Some Trees (1956).

Judges' Citation

Characteristically refreshing the possibilities for language to expand our vision and to sustain us through it, Ashbery pitches the “pure joy of daily living” against the facts of change, erosion, and mortality. The poems here, spoken from the deepening shadow of that mortality, are at once a highly associative transcript of the flux of consciousness itself, and an unswerving and utterly original meditation on the human impulse both to live and to love fully, in a world that increasingly flickers with doubt, anxiety, and unease.