Notes: Poetry

I began reading John Ashbery’s "As We Know," published in an elongated book typically found with reproductions of art, on a warm day in February—already an unexpected event for the time of year. The collection begins with Ashbery’s long poem “Litany” which runs along the horizontal pages in two columns “meant to be read as simultaneous but independent monologues.”⁠ As I began reading, reverberating between each column as they caught my attention, scattered thoughts began disrupting the language of the poem. I found myself simultaneously aware of the multiple speakers becoming, as well as my own train of thought as it became suspended between the two columns.