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What is a flivver?

John Ashbery is a frustrating but rewarding poet

By Melanie Rehak   January 2001

To read a John Ashbery poem is to encounter a mysterious, occasionally frustrating collection of events and emotions that can be extraordinarily compelling without necessarily making linear sense. Even if a line seems illogical-and there are many such lines in Ashbery’s work-it is integral to the poem, in the way that the random thoughts each of us has on a given day make up the fabric of our existence. Did I remember to lock the door? That woman on the subway looked like my best friend from primary school. I wonder what she’s doing now. What’s it really like to…

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