With the passing of poet John Ashbery, we have been reflecting on where we've found him in the collection—not just as author, but as translator, editor, interviewee, blurb writer, and even lyricist. With this blog series, we hope to share with you the lessor-known periodicals featuring Ashbery and expose you to our rich collection. In this post, we highlight three literary journals which feature his early work.
Folder: Founded in 1953 by New York poet and actress Daisy Aldan, this magazine’s pages are filled with Ashbery’s contemporaries, including Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler. Alongside its texts, Folder included prints and photographs. Ashbery published several pieces in this periodical, beginning with Issue 1. There, you'll find a number of Ashbery's poems, including "The Way They Took." In Issue 2, you'll find his poem "A Pastoral." Request Issue 3 in the Rose Main Reading Room (room 315) and flip through the magazine to find more!
Locus Solus: Taking its name from the 1914 novel Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel, this magazine was the brainchild of John Ashbery and writer Harry Matthews. Along with guest editors Kenneth Koch and James Schuyler, four issues of Locus Solus were published between 1961 and 1962. In Locus Solus Winter 1961, you can find six Ashbery poems, including “Spring Twilight” and “A White Paper.” In Summer 1961’s issue, you’ll find a collaboration between John Ashbery and James Schuyler entitled “A Nest of Ninnies: Fragment of a Novel.” There are other works by Ashbery in the Locus Solus. They are yours to find!
Art and Literature: Edited by Ashbery and painters Ann Dunn and Rodrigo Moynihan, Art and Literature’s first issue came out in March of 1964. This international quarterly operated out of France and featured writing by many notables including John Cage, Roland Barthes, Joe Brainard, Alex Katz, and Fairfield Porter. In Issue 12 (1967) you’ll find Ashbery’s “French Poems,” originally written in French and translated into English by Ashbery himself. Issue 8 (1966) includes Ashbery’s poem “Clepsydra”.
Issue 8 also contains a hidden gem—two poems by “Koichi K. O’Hara,” rumored to be a pseudonym shared by Kenneth Koch and Frank O’Hara. Flip to the back to find Koichi K. O’Hara’s clever contributor’s note.
We hope you enjoyed our selection of journals. We’ll continue to look for Ashbery’s words within the collection and showcase other periodicals in future “Finding Ashbery” posts.
Are you missing him too? Share where you’ve found him in the comments below.
Haven’t found him yet? To get started in our classic catalog, perform an author search for “Ashbery, John." Not all periodicals in NYPL’s catalog have noted him as contributor, though, so if you want bonus points, you’ll have to do some digging.
We used the Encyclopedia of the New York School Poets to investigate the three journals above. If you want to find out more about the journals featured in this post and the New York School Poets, you can access this publication via our database Gale Virtual Reference Library.
The image at the beginning of the post came from The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection.You can find this image in the The New York Public Library Digital Collections by searching "John Ashbery."
This post was co-created with Miriam Gianni, General Research Division, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.