The Flow Chart Foundation explores the interrelationships of various art forms as guided by the legacy of American poet John Ashbery and promotes engagement with his work.
The Ashbery Resource Center, a project of The Flow Chart Foundation, consists of online Ashbery-related resources, as well as an archival and research facility. As custodian of large portions of the John Ashbery archive and collections, The Flow Chart Foundation coordinates the continued development of the Ashbery Resource Center to facilitate the identification, organization, documentation, maintenance, and preservation of its holdings, and to provide a rich virtual resource.
The two domestic environments where John Ashbery lived and worked for the longest periods of his life—his Created Spaces—offer important insights into his art. Ashbery’s purposefully constructed domestic spaces both reflect and are reflected in his writing, frequently involved with other literature, music, the visual and decorative arts, architecture, theater, and film. Ashbery's Created Spaces provide the most personally meaningful of contexts for his work, as well as inspiration for meaningful, generative dialog between art forms and other disciplines.
The Flow Chart Foundation partners with other organizations and directly presents public programs—including exhibits, readings, discussions and performances—and fosters continued research into the interrelationship of various art forms and the work of John Ashbery, to serve its mission by engaging the general public as well as scholarly activity.
I would say this landscape
Too is a document. But
What is a landscape? A procession
Across the soul that thinks
It’s entering something?
Then the cold, dank withdrawal.
It’s something that can never be read again
Or even once. What its rolled-up
Soul conceals is very important.
Meanwhile you know
You have to go on not
Understanding, not even trying to listen.
That way, something gets pile up.
Can feed all memories and there’s still
As much as there was before—can wax
Enthusiastic in the shadows
Of some rooms—maybe they aren’t
All that shadowed though. In short,
It keeps addressing itself
To a particular problem as old
As the hills. It has no
Stake in the outcome, in anything,
And the problem isn’t yours,
Though you’ll be affected by it.
Sometimes it’s nice just to lie
Around talking the demands of sex
And other things pushed
Aside. My heart is so crazy
I like it all—the landscape
As it might be represented by a table
Or a chair. It beats living. Suddenly
We know it dies at Inspiration Point;
The whole cost, the ladders
Of history to a well in you eyes. It’s true we
Maybe won’t pass this way again, but the
Light is all bottled inside you.
— from Collected Poems 1956-1987 (© 2008 Estate of John Ashbery. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc.)
The New Spirit (excerpt)
I thought that if I could put it all down, that would be one way. And next the thought came to me that to leave all out, would be another, and truer, way.
The flowers were.
These are examples of leaving out. But, forget as we will, something soon comes to stand in their place. Not the truth, perhaps, but—yourself. It is you who made this, therefore you are true. But the truth has passed on
to divide all.
Have I awakened? Or is this sleep again? Another form of sleep? There is no profile in the massed days ahead. They are impersonal as mountains whose tops are hidden in cloud. The middle of the journey, before the sands are reversed: a place of ideal quiet.
You are my calm world. This is my happiness. To stand, to go forward into it. The cost is enormous. Too much for one life.
— from Three Poems (© 1972 Estate of John Ashbery. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc.)