We’re away until January 3, but we’re reposting some of our favorite pieces from 2017. Enjoy your holiday!
On the cover of this pocket-size edition of John Ashbery’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, the poet stands in a doorway. He wears the somehow simultaneously ill-advised and completely stylish ensemble of a half-unbuttoned patterned shirt and tight beltless pants. Looking closer, the doorway seems to open not to a room or to the outside but to a closet: on a shelf behind him there is a pot or urn, and the flatness of the photograph makes it seem a bit as if he is wearing it on his head, like a bizarre hat. He is looking straight out of the front of the book, with a direct, slightly furrowed expression. He is about to smile beneath his full mustache. Something strange is just about to happen.