Jane Freilicher – Painter Among Poets

1960s: Days of Rage

“In August 1950, Jane Freilicher received a letter from John Ashbery in which he recommended she read Proust’s À la recherché du temps perdu. ‘One of Proust’s most exciting qualities,’ the twenty-three year old wrote to her, ‘is the way he demonstrates how circumstances of one’s life which seem casual and ephemeral can solidify for the rest of one’s life (i.e. Swann’s relation with Odette).’ His prescience is amusing. He had met Freilicher—as he put it, ‘a pretty and somewhat preoccupied dark-haired girl’—because she shared a kitchen in the same apartment building on Third Avenue and 16th Street with Kenneth Koch, a friend of Ashbery’s from Harvard. Koch, visiting his parents in Cincinnati for the summer, had sublet his apartment to Ashbery, and Freilicher let him into the building. The two were, as Koch put it in his later poem ‘A Time Zone,’ immediately ‘Afloat with ironies jokes sensitivities perceptions…

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