Photo Credit: Douglas Crase

Photo Credit: Douglas Crase

David Kermani—President

David Kermani was born in Albany, NY in 1946. He received a BA from Brown University (American Civilization), and an MA (Middle East Languages and Cultures) and MLS (specializing in archival management) from Columbia University. He was Director of the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York from 1977 until 1982, when he joined his family’s oriental rug business in upstate NY. Soon after meeting John Ashbery in 1970, he began work on a comprehensive bibliography of Ashbery’s work, including his writing about art, which was published in 1976; he has managed Ashbery’s business affairs for many years. He has been on the Board of Friends of Olana (now The Olana Partnership), serving as Treasurer, Vice-President, and President. Along with Dara Wier, James Tate and Ashbery, he was a founding member of The Flow Chart Foundation in 1998, helping to develop the Ashbery Resource Center and its online catalogue as a continuation of the earlier bibliography, and the “Created Spaces” concepts. 

photo credit: Christina Blok

photo credit: Christina Blok

Jeffrey Lependorf—Executive Director

An accomplished musician and composer, visual artist, and nonprofit arts professional, Jeffrey Lependorf previously served as Executive Director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, Development Director of the Creative Capital Foundation, and Vice President of Development for Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project. He currently also serves as Executive Director of Small Press Distribution, and directs the Art Omi: Music international musicians residency program, which he created. He received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin Conservatory, and his masters and doctorate degrees from Columbia University, where he also taught for a number of years, and was named a national artist leader by National Arts Strategies, participating in their prestigious Chief Executives Program. For more information, visit



Assertiveness Training

 I like the integrity of what you have to say,

drama or dream. What is credibility

without assertiveness, endurance without skepticism?

And the abrupt thrust of your bearing

at me under a low-hanging branch.

What shall any of these do without skeletons

as ideas? I hear the tango beginning,

the waltz that is loss. Crossed logs in the chimney . . .


Without aggressiveness, hope, I couldn’t conquer any of it.

There’d be no piece of it to bring back to you,

saying, “this is me.” A lie

among others we’re exposed to. And when the needle finally swung

it was wrapped in rags, in pitch blackness.

I escaped from the dream of living

into a fairy tale with no happy ending, no ending at all,

only bedtime to live ever after.


You could climb a fence amid barberries

and never see the departing smile on the swan’s face.

Only your need will be redeemed

when you dwell again among us, much misunderstood.

For now your glass prayer encases both of us.

— from And the Stars Were Shining (© 1994 Estate of John Ashbery. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc.)



It is difficult to separate the tapestry

From the room or look which takes precedence over it.

For it must always be frontal and yet to one side.

It insists on the picture of “history”

In the making, because there is no way out of the punishment

It proposes: sight blinded by sunlight.

The seeing taken in with what is seen

In an explosion of sudden awareness of its formal splendor.

The eyesight, seen as inner,

Registers over the impact of itself

Receiving phenomena, and in so doing

Draws an outline, or a blueprint,

Of what was just there: dead on the line.

If it has the form of a blanket, that is because

We are eager, all the same, to be wound in it:

This must be the good of not experiencing it.

But in some other life, which the blanket depicts anyway,

The citizens hold sweet commerce with one another

And pinch the fruit unpestered, as they will,

As words go crying after themselves, leaving the dream

Upended in a puddle somewhere

As though “dead” were just another adjective.

— from As We Know (© 1979 Estate of John Ashbery. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc.)