John Ashbery, one of the most renowned American poets of all time, was celebrated for his avant-garde and often surrealistic approach to poetry. Who was the master behind the pen, and how did his life influence his work? Through interviews with Ashbery, study of his diaries, and discovery of early, unpublished poetry, biographer Karin Roffman traces the development of the poet across inner turmoils, from sexuality and family strife, to triumphs such as a prize bestowed by W.H. Auden. How did the shy, sensitive boy depicted in Roffman’s writing become a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet? If, as Ashbery writes, “Our question of a place of origin hangs / Like smoke”, Roffman has given us the tools to ask the smoky question. She will speak at the Library about Ashbery’s remarkable and singular voice, and the relationship between poetry and life.