New Criticals

Can go spiral or back and forth
with weather fronts
— Hoa Nguyen (“Ugly Poem”)

The poet John Ashbery passed away this past September. In trying to describe how and why he doesn't understand the meaning of his own poems, he explained that “poetry has its beginning and ending outside thought” as if maybe in the air like weather. Rereading his work since, I'm reminded of what’s exciting about reading and writing poems. “The mind begins to respond to the sound of the wind as if it were great music” (Wilson) — that seems a welcome thing today as ever.