Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1968. Early Reprint. Hardcover. First Edition, Third Printing, of this touchstone of contemporary American avant-garde poetry. Crown 8vo (203 x 152mm): 94,pp. Publisher's gray cloth, spine stamped in red and black, pictorial dust jacket (price-clipped) printed in black and salmon pink. Inscribed by Ashbery on title page to book editor and publisher William Targ. About Fine copy, square and tightly bound, crisp and clean throughout, of the scarce clothbound issue. Near Fine or better jacket, spine ends lightly rubbed, back panel slightly dust-soiled. Item #BB1862
The poet's second trade publication, first published by Wesleyan in 1962, collecting 30 poems. "On one level, 'The Tennis Court Oath' is a poem about the possibilities of poetry itself. For John Ashbery, the purpose of poetry is not communication in the sense of a message delivered or of an idea expressed. It is, instead, communication as the continuous encounter between ideas and things in language on the page and in language in the mind. In the fragmentary rhetoric of this poem, one can never be certain whether a given word is the object of one verb or the subject of the next. One does not know what to subordinate to what, just as one cannot determine plot from subplot or reality from dream in the inconstant landscape of the poem’s progress. For Ashbery, this indeterminacy represents the liberation of poetry from poetic precedent, a chance for the poem to be read only by its own and its readers’ own lights. The poem becomes an exemplary act of literary sabotage, a bomb tossed into the anthologies that readers carry in their minds from one work of literature to another." (enotes) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).