Library Journal Review
"In Roffman's (From the Modernist Annex) comprehensive biography of John Ashbery, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (for the collection Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror), readers get a view of the author through childhood to early adulthood for the first time. The 89-year-old Ashbery has been writing all of his life, and many of his poems and diary entries are included in this volume. There is some literary analysis done by the Roffman, but most of the work concentrates on the meanings behind the poems. Ashbery drew inspiration from his experiences, specifically the untimely death of his brother and the loss of relationships. Despite these tragic instances, he is known for his wit, focus, and self-awareness. Ashbery's career almost ended before it began though, when a supposed friend plagiarized his work and published it under a different name. Luckily for his readers, Ashbery persisted and became a literary legend. VERDICT Readers of Ashbery's work will enjoy Roffman's deep insight into the poet. Pictures throughout offer visuals of the people and places that shaped Ashbery's writing." —Natalie Browning, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond, VA"