New York School

In Which We Read a Few Good Books, Connect Some Dots, and Have Ourselves a Very Fine Time

I enjoyed David Lehman’s Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man so much when I read it in April that I decided to try my luck with another of his several works of nonfiction. I almost picked up Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection, but I’ve been in a gung-ho poetry mood lately, so instead I opted for The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets, a group biography of Frank O’Hara,  James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch and John Ashbery. I encountered this Ashbery quip earlier today in the book, and was going to share it as a power quote, but that’s not really in the spirit of Ashbery, besides which now I want to talk about something else, too. Anyway the quote goes like this:

Recklessness is what makes experimental art beautiful, just as religions are beautiful because of the strong possibility that they are founded on nothing. We would all believe in God if we knew He existed, but would this be much fun? (p. 39)


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May 11th, 2010 / 2:59 pm

Dennis Cooper presents: The day love co-signs 10 poems from the so-called New York School

You can click anywhere on any of this text to get taken to DC’s blog, which has poems by and photos of Ted Berrigan, Ashbery, Edwin Denby, Alice Notley, Frank O’Hara, &c. Here’s a hot sample for you-


[Sonnet] You jerk you didn’t call me up

by Bernadette Mayer

You jerk you didn’t call me up
I haven’t seen you in so long
You probably have a fucking tan
& besides that instead of making love tonight
You’re drinking your parents to the airport
I’m through with you bourgeois boys
All you ever do is go back to ancestral comforts
Only money can get—even Catullus was rich but

Nowadays you guys settle for a couch
By a soporific color cable t.v. set
Instead of any arc of love, no wonder
The G.I. Joe team blows it every other time

Wake up! It’s the middle of the night
You can either make love or die at the hands of
the Cobra Commander


To make love, turn to page 121.
To die, turn to page 172.

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October 20th, 2008 / 9:53 am