Hudson House Bibliography

The following bibliographic timeline reflects the scholarly, pedagogical, artistic and journalistic efforts that have been made over the last forty years to document John Ashbery’s Hudson house. 

Beginning in 1983, about five years after Ashbery purchased the home, interest in the poet’s consuming renovation and design project—what husband David Kermani later called Ashbery’s “Created Spaces”—intensified as each room on the main floor was finished.  In 1984, at the urging of James Ryan, the manager of the nearby Olana State Historic Site (the former home of artist Frederic Church), the downstairs and the central staircase were professionally photographed for the first time.  By the end of the decade, when Ashbery completed the upstairs rooms as well, the poet Rosanne Wasserman documented this milestone by composing an essay on the experience of following Ashbery as he walked through the house.  Wasserman’s personal and professional interests were shared by other poets and artists, such as Eugene Richie, Dara Wier, James Tate and Archie Rand, all of whom created projects related to the house and also encouraged Kermani and Ashbery to further document and preserve it. 

In 2001, the scholars Olivier Brossard, Ashbery’s assistant at the time in New York City (and who later translated several volumes of Ashbery’s poetry into French), and Micaela Morrisette, who became the first Managing Director of the Ashbery Resource Center in Hudson, further developed ideas about the relationship of Ashbery’s home to his poetry as well as his interests in music, film, painting and collage.  Both Brossard and Morrissette presented their discoveries in public forums over the next few years, including at a 2002 Pompidou Centre celebration in Paris, a 2006 New School event organized by David Lehman, and in an online symposium for Rain Taxi (2008).  In 2009, Karin Roffman received a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend, the first project supported by a competitive grant and the first to pursue original research on the biographical, material and historical provenance of hundreds of objects in the house.  The ideas resulting from her more than a decade of investigative work on Ashbery’s life as what she calls a poet-collector are visible in her recent biography of the poet (The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life) and in “John Ashbery’s Nest.” 

Additional bibliographic details follow in the timeline.