The King of Mishaguss

Massimo Gezzi has an interview with John Ashbery at the Best American Poetry website:

MG: Once you argued that America always seemed like a foreign country to you, adding that living abroad focuses you on where you’re from. Do you still feel that America is like a foreign country? Which are the American poets and writers you most appreciate?

JA: America still seems like a foreign country to me, perhaps now more than ever before. On the other hand, I discovered during ten years I spent in France that I like feeling like a foreigner. Gertrude Stein first pointed out that living in Paris made her more conscious of her American identity. A list of American poets and writers that I appreciate would be very long if I were to include contemporaries, including younger ones whose names would mean nothing to your readers. Of the older ones I would include Whitman, Stevens, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Jane Bowles, and also T.S. Eliot and Auden, though we’re not certain which nationality to assign to them.

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