Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror: John Ashbery

JUly 24, 2018, 5–6:30pm


Join via EventBrite or email Bea and Gina.

Led by

Gina DeCagna and Bea Huff Hunter

Primary Text

Ashbery, John. "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror." Poetry. (August 1974): 247–61. [Link to poem via Poetry Foundation]

Benedikter, Roland and Judith Hilber. “The Post-Modern Mind: A Reconsideration of John Ashbery’s ‘Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror’ (1975) from the Viewpoint of an Interdisciplinary History of Ideas.” Open Journal of Philosophy 2, no. 1 (2012): 64–73  [Link to full text article]


"[Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror] abounds with a kinetic energy, moving from one point to the next, from one thought to innumerable associations and counter-associations; time and moment are keywords. The present alternates with flashbacks to and from the past, which are actualized as being in the present and then dropped again as being in the past [...] a characteristic feature of movement is that it presupposes time as a medium. The unities of the fourth dimension—the moments—are transitory. Time is irreversible, and accordingly its content ceases to exit.”  
—Roland Benedikter and Judith Hilber

In this meeting, we’ll consider the postmodernist interplay between the visual and the literary within the work of American poet John Ashbery, focusing on his poem “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.”


PennSound Archive on John Ashbery, hosted via Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing

John Ashbery’s Visits, Readings, and Discussions in 2002 and in 2013 at Kelly Writers House




Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, Room 111, 3808 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104