Baker & Taylor
Poems deal with transience, memory, manners, music, art, love, reverence, time, dreams, mortality, and the past
Blackwell North Amer
Readers of John Ashbery's recent book Flow Chart will find the continuation of its spirit, at once tragic and playful, dense and volatile, passionate and impersonal, in this extraordinary new collection of lyric poems.
The title Hotel Lautreamont alludes to the pseudonymous Count de Lautreamont, a nineteenth-century poet remembered for his presurrealist epic prose poem, The Songs of Maldoror. Little is known about him, save that his real name was Isidore Ducasse and that he spent his brief adult life in various hotels in Paris, checking out of his transient existence in 1870 at the age of twenty-four.
Critics and readers have long appreciated Ashbery's uncanny use of the cadences of colloquial speech ("plain American that cats and dogs can read," in Marianne Moore's phrase), but they have perhaps overlooked the equally important influences of such "outsider" French poets as Rimbaud, Raymond Roussel, and Ducasse-Lautreamont. These sometimes forgotten presences are wonderfully alive in this superb new collection, which reaffirms Ashbery's unique ability to transform remarkable psychic force into language.
New York : A.A. Knopf, 1992
157 p. ; 23 cm