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This has aged remarkably well (55 years! just think!) but its coy opacity remains undiminished - there is nothing there behind the drapes, as some suspected all along. Ashbery could have been a great poet had he had something to say, had he been able or inclined to open up more (many of these poems burn with a youthful glow that still enchants), but I suppose if he had he wouldn't have been Ashbery. Like Eliot, particularly in this volume he is engaged in a battle with the past, from which he emerges with gonfalon resplendent
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