Pioneer Works honors John Ashbery, one of America’s most important poets and an inspiration for generations of writers and artists, with an evening of readings. Ashbery will be joined by Ben Lerner, Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Mónica de la Torre, and John Yau.
John Ashbery is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. One of the most influential poets of the twentieth century, Ashbery came to acclaim in the 1960s and 70s, when abstract expressionism was at its peak. A penultimate postmodernist, Ashbery became associated early on with the New York School, and his incredible canon of works—including Some Trees (1956), The Double Dream of Spring (1970), Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) and Houseboat Days (1977), in particular—is notable for being particularly impacted by the visual arts.
Ben Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas. He has been a Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Fellow, among other honors. He is the author of two novels: Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, and three poetry collections: The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. His monograph,The Hatred of Poetry, is forthcoming this spring.
Geoffrey G. O’Brien is the author most recently of People on Sunday (Wave Books, 2013); Metropole (2011), Green and Gray (2007), and The Guns and Flags Project (2002), were all published by The University of California Press. His chapbooks include Hesiod (Song Cave, 2010), and Poem with No Good Lines (Hand Held Editions, 2010). He is the coauthor (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets (Minus A Press, 2012) and (in collaboration with the poet Jeff Clark) of 2A (Quemadura, 2006). O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.
Mónica de la Torre’s The Happy End/ All Welcome is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2016. Previous poetry books include Public Domain (Roof Books, 2009) and Talk Shows (Switchback, 2007), as well as two collections in Spanish. Her work has been recently published in The New Yorker, Convolution, frieze, Triple Canopy’s Corrected Slogans, The White Review, and the New Museum’s 2015 triennial volume The Animated Reader. She is BOMB Magazine’s senior editor.
John Yau is a poet, fiction writer, critic, curator, publisher of the literary press, Black Square Editions, and editor of the online magazine, Hyperallergic Weekend. His latest publications include the monographs Catherine Murphy (forthcoming), Richard Artschwager: Into the Desert (2015) and A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (2009), and the poetry book Further Adventures in Monochrome (2012). He is Professor of Critical Studies in the Visual Arts Department at the Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University). He lives in New York.