Pulitzer-prize winning poet John Ashbery, a post-modern American trailblazer, has died at age 90 in Hudson, New York, his family told US media Sunday. The experimental vanguardist was sometimes accused of writing poems that were at times less than accessible to a wider audience.
"Well, I'm told that they're not," he said in a 2005 interview with NPR. "What they are is about the privacy of all of us, and the difficulty of our own thinking," he said, "Yet they are, I think, accessible if anyone cares to access them."
His twists in register or tone routinely were so swift as to leave heads spinning. Yet they left many pleasantly disconcerted.
Ashbery, who said he felt influenced by John Yeats, studied at Columbia University. The Rochester, New York native loved to mix everyday language and thoughts with elevated language.
His 1975 collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror made history when he became the lone writer to earn three major accolades the same year for the same work: the Pulitzer in addition to a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award.
In 2012, Ashbery received the National Humanities Medal from then-president Barack Obama.