We recommend Ashbery’s “Hard Times”
Today i want to mention and recommend just one poem we read this week—John Ashbery’s “Hard Times.” Ashbery is not really—or not often directly, anyway—a political poet. But “Hard Times” gives you a sense of what happens when Ashbery, with his very keen sense of ambiguity and of our era’s broken cause-and-effect relations, turns toward the life we live inside the social economy we’ve set up. The poem, although written in the 1980s, perhaps speaks to many of us today. HERE is the text. HERE is a video (1.5 minutes) of John reading the poem (at my request) during his last visit to the Writers House. And HERE is the video recording of my improvised conversation with the ModPo TAs about the poem.