New on Litter: a review by Clive Allen of 'Planisphere', John Ashbery's latest book
Clive said to me the other day that he'd spotted an interview quote by Ashbery:
‘I always try not to have obscure references in my poems, yet I do it all the time. It upsets me, but I go on doing it.’
As I said to Clive, I find what Ashbery says quite encouraging. In a sense, it justifies difficult poetry, because, if it's not a willed decision to be 'difficult', then it's something that comes from the subconscious, which means that difficult poetry is a genuine expression of at least one aspect of being human.
I also pointed out that Martin Amis says something similar in a recent interview in The Guardian.