John Ashbery's "Collected Poems 1956-1987" contains the complete text of the poet's first twelve books, from "Some Trees" (1956), selected for publication by W.H. Auden, to "April Galleons" (1987), and including "The Vermont Notebook" (1975) with the original artwork by Joe Brainard, and "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" (1976), which won the Pulitzer Prize, together with a selection of more than sixty previously uncollected poems. To read Ashbery's work in sequence is to experience the magnitude of his presence in American poetry over these four decades, as innovator and influence. His poetry, 'an exuberant script for survival' (Marina Warner), 'light-footed and delectably irresponsible' (Alfred Brendel), fascinates with virtuosic complexity and delights with wry humour. A restless explorer of the modern world, alive to language and impression, Ashbery enlarges the possibilities of poetry. With a detailed chronology and notes on the poems, "Collected Poems 1956-1987" is an indispensable compilation of the work of one of the essential poets of our time.