The Songs We Know Best

The Songs We Know Best

The first biography of an American master

The Songs We Know Best, the first comprehensive biography of the early life of John Ashbery—the winner of nearly every major American literary award—reveals the unusual ways he drew on the details of his youth to populate the poems that made him one of the most original and unpredictable forces of the last century in arts and letters.

Drawing on unpublished correspondence, juvenilia, and childhood diaries as well as more… (more)

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Editorial reviews (2 reviews)


“The Songs We Know Best” offers up a feast of new details, documents and colorful anecdotes that will be foundational for any future understanding of Ashbery.

As Karin Roffman demonstrates in this illuminating account of his early life, the originality of his poetic idiom owes as much to his provincial rural upbringing, and to the compound of guilt and nostalgia that was its legacy, as it does to his embrace of the experimental in New York and Paris.


Book Details  


Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 13, 2017)

Collection: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Language: English


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