John Ashbery visits

"I’m getting away from your question I'm afraid…"
"Change is very important"
"They just didn't have enough telephones"
"I Never quite understood about understanding poetry"
Re: fence-sitting "I guess that is my esthetic idea"
"Don't write about those people but write about the things that come into your head when you think about them"
"remind me to write some caviar poems"
"I didn't have anything to teach anybody, they all knew more than I did and still do"
"I think I'm going to be taking a little napkin"
"I don't know really, I'll have to wait and see"
"I don't know if I'm answering your question or just repeating it"
"I found it easier to write dialogue for other people than I did writing monologues for myself"
"I suppose cousin bud will be running through the park in his lavender suit–I have a cousin bud, do you?"
"I often feel that something else is doing the writing though not to the extent of being sent away to the mental institution"
Re: why do you write "I don't try very hard not to do it"
"If I knew how to write music I would probably be doing that, but im trying to write music without knowing how and this is what comes out."
"I'm accused of not being reader friendly but thats not my intention. I want to provide  the reader with a surprise, a nice surprise."
"I still can't get used to the idea that people read and enjoy my poetry."

"My first poem was about a battle between the snowflakes and the bunnies. I was eight and I was so pleased with that I stopped writing."
(then later, when he told the story of his mother's friend reading it in her apartment on fifth avenue), "I knew all about Fifth Avenue and I decided that it just couldn't get any better than that"

"I tend to write about what people talk about"

""Some Trees" is my farewell to poetry as we know it"

On Pierre Martory's English: "His English was quite remarkable and has as such inspired many of my own mutilations" (hence, the napkin bit)

Quoting O'Hara: "I must play you my sonatina that lasts three seconds"

And from today: "I write my poems in order to forget them." 
Al mentioned this again in the webcast this morning, but another highlight was John's astonishment after we recited "Some Trees." To paraphrase: had he known when he was 20 that someday, six and a half decades later, a roomful of 20-year-olds would recite from memory  that he wrote, he would have written more poems like that! It must be incredible to be confronted with your own legacy in such a real way, in a way that transcends but also complements all of the books, all of the praise, and all of the prizes.

"I'm a political poet but I don't write political poetry."
"There seem to be a lot of museums of helpful objects in Philadelphia."
"I guess I've encourage a lot of deviant behavior in my writing."