John Ashbery on John Perreault's Camouflage

Here is another Lines Press publication from 1966.  John Ashbery wrote the introduction.  Not sure if this introduction is reprinted anywhere.  If not, it is now.


The first person singular occurs throughout these poems, like a key signature in music, but the poems are not meant as autobiography and in fact tell us nothing about the poet.  The “I” is really a kind of familiar-sounding threshold that brings us immediately into contact with the unfamiliar world one step away – “the” world.  The poet is this world.  He has “camouflaged himself to look like everything, if camouflage is the art of calling attention to things by trying to make them invisible.  The poems are simultaneously big, important and world-ordering; and small, odd and private.  They cover everything, elbow the reader out of themselves, and camouflage him into the memory of his intentions when he began to read the poem.



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