One of the grand old hold-outs, the Library of America has finally shifted over to a matte finish for their dust jackets; now only the author's name ("Calligraphy by Gun Larson") and the tricolor band remain in the traditional high-gloss finish. End of an era; oh well, I thought that when they started using full-color author portraits, as well. Nice to have 30+ years of Ashbery in one brick volume (happy birthday to me – thanks, Stephanie), tho something just feels wrong about his making it into the series before Dickinson, Moore, WCW, Oppen – well, we won't go on with names, will we? Wouldn't mind a Joel Barlow volume, either.
I don't know the back story on The Vermont Notebook. It feels like a vacation fancy, a fun collaboration between the poet (JA) & the illustrator (Joe Brainard), setting Brainard's sketchy monochrome copies of photos in counterpoint to all manner of Ashbery ramblings: lists of products, shops, proper names, elements of the townscape; Steinian exercises in repetitive prose; reproduced magazine copy; even a real live poem or two. Pleasantly diverting, all in all – tho I'm sure I'm not the only one to bemoan the LOA's bible paper in this case: even tho the Brainard drawings are reproduced (well) in gray, they glare thru the recto of every bloody page.