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The First BookTwentieth-Century Poetic Careers in America$
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Jesse Zuba

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164472

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164472.001.0001

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“Everything Has a Schedule”

“Everything Has a Schedule”

John Ashbery’s Some Trees

(p.104) 3 “Everything Has a Schedule”
The First Book

Jesse Zuba

Princeton University Press

This chapter offers an interpretation of one of the most remarkable debut collections ever selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets award—Some Trees by John Ashbery. The reputation of the book as an unconventional debut has dominated the critical response to it, from the early, largely negative judgments by critics such as William Arrowsmith and Donald Hall, to more recent attempts to revalue it by Marjorie Perloff, Vernon Shetley, David Lehman, and others. The chapter argues that Some Trees has been misread both by its detractors and defenders, who tend to stress the ways in which the poems resist interpretation while ignoring many of the ways in which they encourage and support it.

Keywords:   Some Trees, John Ashbery, poem interpretation, Yale Series of Younger Poets, debut poetry collections, criticisms

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