John Ashbery Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How is John Ashbery’s interest in art reflected in his poetry?

Ashbery says his poetry is about a world lacking in coherence. Explain how one or more poems explore this theme.

Ashbery is strongly influenced by W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, and Wallace Stevens. Compare one of his poems to a work by one of these poets.

Explain how Ashbery introduces an important question about life without answering it. Within the context of his poetry, is such an answer necessary?

Explain how Ashbery ignores logic in the structure of his poetry.

How does “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” address the nature of reality?

How does Ashbery use geographical locations to suggest something other than themselves?