In QUICK QUESTION John Ashbery extends an invitation to readers to accompany him into the extraordinary worlds of the everyday, experienced through the box of tricks that is language.
He revels in twist and transformation, the constant mutability of words and things: 'Whatever stops playing is the enemy of the incomplete'.
He can stop us in our tracks with the accuracy of his perception: 'Somewhere in America someone is trying to figure out / how to pay for this'.
Aware of the paradoxes of his own writing, he teases us with questions: 'Is it all doggerel and folderol?' 'Would I lie to you?' Either way, his invitation is irresistible: come in, see what happens.