John Ashbery has published more than 20 poetry collections, beginning in 1953 with Turandot and Other Poems (Tibor de Nagy Editions). His Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (Viking, 1975) won the three major American prizes: the Pulitzer, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent volumes are Wakefulness (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998), Girls on the Run (FSG, 1999), Your Name Here (FSG, 2000), As Umbrellas Follow Rain (Qua Books, 2001) and Chinese Whispers (FSG, 2002).
The novel A Nest of Ninnies, written with James Schuyler, was first published in 1969 (Dutton) and has been reissued several times. The collection Three Plays (Z Press, 1978) includes The Heroes (Playscripts, Inc., 2003), which was first produced in New York by the Living Theater in 1952. Mr. Ashbery's numerous published translations from French include works by Raymond Roussel, Max Jacob, Alfred Jarry, Antonin Artaud, and Pierre Martory. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.
Born in Rochester, New York in 1927, Mr. Ashbery received a BA from Harvard (1949) and an MA from Columbia (1951), went to France as a Fulbright Scholar in 1955, and lived and worked there for most of the next decade. He began writing about art in 1957, and served as executive editor of Art News (1965-72), and art critic for New York Magazine (1978-80) and Newsweek (1980-85). He was Professor of English and co-director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Brooklyn College (CUNY), 1974-90, and Distinguished Professor 1980-90. Since 1990 he has been the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
Mr. Ashbery has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1980) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1983), and served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1988-99. The winner of many prizes and awards, he has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and was a MacArthur Fellow from 1985-90. He holds honorary doctorates from Southampton College of Long Island University, the University of Rochester, and Harvard University. Recognition for his outstanding career achievement includes the Horst Bienek Prize for Poetry (Munich, 1991), the Ruth Lilly Prize for Poetry (1992), the Antonio Feltrinelli International Prize for Poetry (Rome, 1992), the Robert Frost Medal (1995), the Grand Prix de Biennales Internationales de Poésie (Brussels, 1996), the Gold Medal for Poetry (1997), the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit (2000), the Signet Society Medal for Achievement in the Arts (2001), and the Wallace Stevens Award (2001). In 1993 he was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, and in 2002 he was named Officier of the Légion d'Honneur of the Republic of France by presidential decree.