John Ashbery (1927-2017) was born in Rochester, New York and grew up in nearby Sodus. As a child he attended classes in the Creative Workshop of the Memorial Art Gallery. He wrote more than twenty books of poetry, including Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), which received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Poetry Society of America's Robert Frost Medal. His books on art include Reported Sightings (1991) and Girls on the Run: A Poem, a meditation on the paintings of "Outsider" artist Henry Darger. A Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow, he also served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Artist as well as poet, in 1984 Ashbery published Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror as a round-shaped portfolio with portraits of Ashbery by contemporary artists/friends. The portfolio is in MAG's collection.
In 2001, Ashbery responded to Jane Freilicher's View Over Mecox (Yellow Wall) (in MAG's collection) in an essay that was published in MAG's Voices in the Gallery: Writers on Art.