New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher’s khaki cloth, spine stamped in black, marigold endpapers, original illustrated dust jacket.
"Perhaps we ought to feel with more imagination." Presentation copy first edition of John Ashbery’s third collection of poetry. A member of the first generation of New York School poets, Ashbery wrote the twelve poems comprising the present volume predominantly while working as an art critic in France. While Ashbery is today considered the foremost American poet of the second half of the 20th century, this book, along with his first two collections, were controversial upon appearance due to their melange of French-influenced verse and adaptation of the "cut-up" technique developed by the Beats. If the middle period of his work has generally been favored by critics, according to Ashbery this collection demonstrates a change in his work that resulted in a "new way of writing." Inscribed by the poet on the front endpaper to New York Times food writer Barbara Kafka: "To Barbara Poses Kafka / with my best / John Ashbery." Additionally, a handwritten note of thanks from Ashbery to Kafka on ArtNews letterhead is laid in. Ashbery regularly wrote for ArtNews in the 1960s and 70s. Light soiling and edgewear to unclipped dust jacket, else fine. Item #4861