New York: Penguin Books, 1979. Oblong 8vo. 188 pages. Original printed wrappers designed by Beth Tondreau. A fine copy. Item #402916
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED to the poet Stephen Stepanchev (1915-2017). Born in Serbia, Stepanchev moved to Chicago at the age of seven. He wrote many collections of poetry and the critical study 'American Poetry Since 1945' (1966), in which he wrote about Ashbery and other New York Poets. Stephanchev taught at Queens College for 35 years.
'As We Know' contains forty-seven short lyrical pieces and the long poem "Litany," a signature polyphonic work. It was Ashbery's eighth collection of verse. The oblong format of the book adumbrated the pastoral nature of the poetry: associating the horizontal with landscape (as opposed to the vertical of portraiture). The cover reproduces "St. Mary's Square and St. Mary's Church, Utrecht," by the Dutch painter Pietre Jansz Saenredam (1597-1665).