Makes sense to him

By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  January 12, 2010

It may seem that Ashbery's reflective period of the past few years has amounted to little but entertaining repetition, but even his "rut" feels rich. If he's repetitive, it's in the way that a beach is repetitive with sand, or the night sky is repetitive with stars. The flattened, impossibly charted universe granted by the title object makes a fitting emblem for these poems, as often his most carefully controlled coordinates offer little more than more beautiful uncertainty — a view of life from its end that sounds nicer than most others, especially in "Floating Away": "The wreckage of the sky/serves to confirm us in delicious error./Congratulations on your life/anyway."

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