From my essay about John Ashbery's Flow Chart :
"The best poets have always been more than careerists. Their best lines are more than manifestations of the culte de moi (an expression that is itself half allusion -- to Barrés -- and half Miss Piggy). Poems are not merely fragmented wrecks that litter the ocean floor, but are, as Ashbery appears to acknowledge, profound as well as found sources, party buried but somehow, whatever the depths, still in view -- more like deeply-embedded stepping stones in a river of verse. That they may lose cohesiveness, authority, even some of their meaning, can muddy the waters, but that is part of the essential nature of things."