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John Sanford, News Service (650) 736-2151; e-mail:

Award-winning poet John Ashbery to read at Stanford

Renowned American poet John Ashbery is scheduled to read selections of his work at 5 p.m. Monday, April 9, as a guest of the Stanford Humanities Center Workshop in Contemporary Poetry.

The event will be held in the Little Theater and is free and open to the public.

"The poetry scene in America can sometimes look very fissured and factional, but just about the one thing everyone can agree on is the tremendous importance of John Ashbery," said Nicholas Jenkins, an assistant professor of English and faculty coordinator of the workshop. "Over the course of a career of some 50 years now, his wonderfully abstract and rueful lyricism has changed the sound, shape and feel of American poetry."

Monday will mark the first time Ashbery has read his poetry at Stanford, Jenkins added.

Ashbery is the author of about 20 books of poetry. He has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award and the Bollingen Prize, and he was the first English-language poet to win the Grand Prix de Biennales Internationales de Poésie.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1927, Ashbery studied at Harvard, Columbia and New York University and was a Fulbright Fellow in France. He was part of the New York School of poets, a group that included Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, Barbara Guest and James Schuyler. Much of Ashbery's verse combines an experimental style with a meditative tone that is reminiscent of W. H. Auden and Wallace Stevens, two of his favorite poets.

Ashbery also has worked as an art critic, editor, translator and creative writing instructor.

"He's a polymathic figure with an international purview," Jenkins said. "I know his presence will further enrich Stanford's long, varied and historically important engagement with the living art of poetry."

For more information about the event, contact David Goldstein at or call the Humanities Center at (650) 723-3052.


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