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Poem of the week: Life is a Dream by John Ashbery


To celebrate the 90th birthday of this majestic writer, a poem whose casual telling of what might be a coming-of-age story reveals some fascinating ambiguities

Life is a Dream

A talent for self-realization
will get you only as far as the vacant lot
next to the lumber yard, where they have rollcall.
My name begins with an A,
so is one of the first to be read off.
I am wondering where to stand – could that group of three
or four others be the beginning of the line?

Related: The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life by Karin Roffman – review

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