FSG's Work in Progress: On the BOOK Cover

Work in Progress features a recent essay about the book cover: 

Two items from the poet John Ashbery’s private collections appear on the cover for The Songs We Know Best. One is a yellow card from the early 1940s that his father, Chester “Chet” Ashbery, designed to advertise goods sold by the Ashbery Farm.

The other is a color photo that Chet, a serious amateur photographer, took of his son in a cherry tree. The beautifully made postcard signifies Chet’s pride in his orchard and farm, a seventy-five-acre property in Sodus, a small rural village thirty miles east of Rochester. The close-up shows a young John Ashbery picking cherries high up in a tree, a farm chore he was required to do each summer, though he took little joy in the annual task. Chet’s father had purchased the farm for the family in 1914; by the time Chet took this picture in the 1940s, he knew that his son had no desire to run it.


currentKarin Roffman