The first typescript

About the typescript

The first typescript is an ensemble of 83 pages belonging to John Ashbery's personal archives. For the present edition, we have partially re-ordered and divided it in two parts: the typescript proper, and a series of independent poems and fragments, presented separately in the next section).

Of this file, 53 pages are immedately related to the composition of “The Skaters.” The original plan of a five-part poem can be followed though the dossier (Part 1: pages 1 to 11; part 2: pages 12 to 20; part 3: pages 21 to 29; part 4: pages 30 to 37; part 5: pages 38 to 43), as well as the reconfiguration of the end of the poem, whith the second version of part 4 (pages 44 to 47), borrowing from the last two parts of the original version. A last section of our transcript (pages 48 to 53) offers unordered fragments of which material has been incorporated into the poem. To this material, the poem untitled “For the left hand” (see next section) is also part, many of its lines having found their way into the first typescript.

The typescript is entirely undated, but the composition of the poem must have taken place between 1963 and the beginning of 1964, though poems from the same file cover a larger time span (from June of 1961 to January of 1964). The reader will find more details in our note on the text.

Our transcription includes as much of the variants as we were able to read. Due to the limitations inherent to HTML, we haven't always succeded in reproducing with exactitude the visual aspect of the page (notably in the case of interlinear additions), but the reader interested in these matters will find an accurate description of the sources in our XML-TEI file.

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