One of the regular features in John Ashbery’s childhood diaries are his descriptions of taking a bath, and so it is perhaps not surprising that he would be drawn to a home with such a beautiful bathroom. The high ceilings, original claw-foot tub and architectural details make this one of the most impressively designed rooms in the house.
A number of poems, perhaps quite a few more than one might expect, reference things in the bathroom and straightforwardly mention one’s use of them: bathtubs, toilets, sinks, mirrors and razors especially. A Vermont Notebook (1975), Ashbery’s text and image collaboration with Joe Brainard, includes a one-page drawing of a toilet.
Filmmaker Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room (2015) includes the 3-minute short, “How To Take a Bath,” which Ashbery, a longtime admirer of Maddin’s films, wrote. See this remarkable collaboration by clicking on the bathtub icon (and view more about their artistic collaboration in the kitchen).