The latest episode of the Paris Review’s new, eclectic podcast features a few items of interest for fans of the New York School: there are readings of poems, originally published in the Paris Review, by both Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery, along with a poem by Roberto Bolaño, whose status as a New York School fan himself I’ve written about here and here.
First up, you can listen to David Sedaris, of all people, read O’Hara’s beloved (and much-discussed) poem “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island.” Later in the episode (after the sublime Mary Louise Parker reads a story by Joy Williams), you can hear John Ashbery reading one of his masterpieces, “Soonest Mended,” in a recording from 1986. He also offers some brief but interesting opening remarks, and the whole poem is accompanied by a new composition by musician Steve Gunn. The episode’s title, “An Occasional Dream,” is taken from a line in “Soonest Mended” as well.
This isn’t the first time the Paris Review podcast has featured the poetry of the New York School (which has a long and substantial association with the magazine) — on episode 1, Eileen Myles reads James Schuyler’s “In earliest morning.” You can find that episode here.