I get a thing called the “Scout Report,” about cool things that are kind of academic-y on the web, and this week they had this really cool tour of John Ashbery’s house! Here’s what they say about it:
John Ashbery's Nest, courtesy of the Yale Digital Humanities Lab, allows visitors to take a tour through the poet's Hudson House home (located at 39 West Court Street in Hudson, New York and purchased by Ashbery in 1978). Along the way, users will hear Ashbery and his husband David Kermani tell stories about the furniture and artifacts in the house. Additionally, the "Show Rooms" menu icon in the top-right corner reveals options to enhance each user's tour. For example, viewers can explore a historical timeline that reveals that Hudson House was built in 1894-95 by a local architect Michael O'Connor, as well as check out architectural documents for the house. Another section of the site, House Essays (found under The Poet) includes Ashbery's writings about other people's houses, such as artist David Ireland's house in San Francisco or painter Fredric Church's Olana (also in the Hudson River Valley). John Ashbery's Nest also traces the poet's influences; for example, his visit to the Chicago Art Institute Thorne rooms in 1941 inspired him to begin sketching houses. Many of the objects in the virtual tour are connected with Ashbery's poems, and on the Collections page, readers will find an alphabetical index providing full text and links to each poem in context within a room.
Check it out--it's really well done, and very cool. There are a number of poems read by Ashbery, as well, including "Forties Flick," one of my favorites--enjoy!