“Some Trees” – John Ashbery

some thoughts: meta –

trees > letters or words

(this was written in my notebook as I watched ModPo team ‘close read’ “Some Trees”)

each part of tree represents different action of letters / they work together to form something –
these chance words (surreal) commingling, that non-narratively join may actually make sense of a world not relative.
“you and I” (from poem) reader/writer
trees – words upon the page –
this definite space that is determined by space or white space to create this canvas scene (a page of letters, words, that fill the page to generate a meaning no of intention but how each tree (word) work in conjunction of its neighbor.
relationship – how a poem works – this language naturally in its random gathering, these spaces as well, the pauses (accents) of language found within the daily justifies ‘some trees – these trees’ these words upon the page
an ode – ars poetica

To make the above a bit more concise for understanding for anyone who happens here from class or elsewhere, here is the above in response to a fellow student who had the same meta notion regarding this poem – he too saw the trees as text. (I’d post his thoughts here but I do not have his permission.)

Right there with you on seeing the form of the letters as trees, Allan. You can imagine my surprise as I just finished the first video hearing the words love poem. However, I felt that Al brought it back around again in the second video aligning it to ars poetica. Perhaps this is a love poem, but for the love of a poem??? “You & I” I read in relation to reader/writer.

I jotted down these thoughts while watching the vids.. *these trees, chance words (surreal perhaps) commingling in a non-linear motion, join and may actually make sense of a world not seemingly relative *

*this definite space determined by space to create upon this canvas — a page of letters to words to lines that fill this page generating a meaning not of intention but how each tree (word) works in conjunction to its neighbor and that silence (space) *

Though not fully understood, I love the last two lines for they seem to add a human element to the poem: Our days put on such reticence/These accents seem their own defense.

As if to say, we fail to oft say what we mean, but with these words, a language is formed, a poem that we need not defend (define). I especially feel that if one is writing without intention of what the words are meaning, but how they are sounding.

What I now am grappling with it trying to wrap this back around to trees…perhaps it goes back to trees having roots (grounded)….
a puzzle –

More thoughts to come on this weeks New York School poets…


2 thoughts on ““Some Trees” & ars poetica

    • Yes, I’ve found I’m an Ashbery fan for I abhor linear thinking (my brain doesn’t flow in one direction!) Just read Mark’s post, too, rather inspring. Thank you for the link – your parallel poem is a wonderful contribution to the dialogue. ~a

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