ARTS & CULTURE

Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Poet John Ashbery Dead At 90

He won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Circle Critics Award all in the same year.

09/04/2017 13:27 EDT | Updated 09/05/2017 00:00 EDT
JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama presents 2011 National Arts and Humanities Medal to poet John Ashbery during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 13, 2012.

Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet John Ashbery, who published more than 20 books of poetry and was known for the complexity of his style, died Sunday at age 90, U.S. media reports said.

Ashbery died at his home in Hudson, New York, the New York Times and ABC News reported, citing his husband David Kermani. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Ashbery, who was first associated with the New York school of poetry in the 1950s and 1960s, won the Pulitzer Prize for “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” in 1976. The collection won the National Book Award and the National Book Circle Critics Award the same year.

Ashbery was deeply influenced by abstract expressionist art and early in his career was an art critic. He tried to capture the experience of disorder in his poems, with experience slipping away from the process of understanding.

“I would like to please the reader, and I think that surprise has to be an element of this, and that may necessitate a certain amount of teasing,” he said in a 1983 Paris Review interview.

Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, the son of a biology teacher and a farmer, and wrote his first poem at 8. He graduated from Harvard University and went to France as a Fulbright Scholar in the 1950s.

He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2011 by President Barack Obama, who praised him for profoundly influencing generations of writers.

Also on HuffPost
Writers We've Lost In 2017