John Ashbery's new collection of fifty-one poems ends with the substantial piece that gives the book its title.
Composed in stanzaic prose, it is a fine specimen of his distinctive courtship mode, wooing the language with language, teasing it and teasing out of it a Protean lover that loves Protean him back: a you, an I, in a wild variety of registers and postures.
Throughout "Where Shall I Wander" the effable and ineffable are in dialogue; time ('then' and 'now') and the stable moments of the poem are within earshot of one another, but cannot ever quite touch hands.
There are ghosts and presences, some unexpected like Ali Baba, Arabia Deserta (down to the turning spit and braised goat) and Mrs Hanratty's apron; others like Holderlin are more insistently entertained, in a poetry that fractures and reinvents syntax, cadence and our sense of beauty, this tribute informed by the terror of Holderlin's later world in which it is impossible not to share.
- Format: Paperback / softback
- Pages: 80 pages
- Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 30/03/2005
- Category: Poetry by individual poets
- ISBN: 9781857547948