Some highlights from the Believer Ashbery interview.
*He doesn't write every day.
*When reading a book of poems, he tends to skip around rather than read it front to back.
*On whether poetry would be helped by a wider audience: "It's sort of like people are alarmed that more people go to rock concerts than go to chamber music performances, but the people who go to both enjoy what they're doing. Does it really matter how many of them there are? I suppose it would be alarming if there were only a dozen or so people who read poetry. But as I'm sure you know there are many more than is dreamed of in the mass media..."
*On political poetry: "It's got to function as poetry. It's got to satisfy the particular hunger that poetry and only poetry can supply, that kind of satisfying meal, as it were. There are certain overtly political poets who do have that capability and it's hard to know exactly why. I've always quite liked Charles Bukowski's poetry, for example, and in fact I even once gave it a prize. I was asked to choose the best poem in an issue of New York Quarterly, and, having read all the poems, I said, well, this is really the best one. It does what it sets out to do, it is what it is without pretension of any kind."
*Even though his work isn't informed by literary theory, he thinks that "if readers who are into theory find it offers a way into my poetry, I think any way in should be taken, probably. It's not that I'm putting theoretical concerns down, they just aren't mine. I guess because I'm writing poetry instead."