The quarterly review MELUS said of John Yau, [his] poetic and critical writings...present an intriguing site of investigation into questions of racial authenticity, while Publishers Weekly has described Yau's poetry as [l]anding somewhere between the surreal-ir aesthetics of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive; a kinder, gentler version of J.K. Huysman's Paris decadence; and the aggregated syllables of Jackson Mac Low's overheard New York... In The Passionate Spectator , Yau turns his attention to some of our most rewned poets and artists, such as John Ashbery, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Creeley, and Frank O'Hara. The eleven essays herein include: Passionate Spectator: On Frank O'Hara's Art Criticism ; At the Movies with Weldon Kees and Frank O'Hara ; The Poet as Art Critic (On John Ashbery and Frank O'Hara) ; Feelings Are Not Quiet (On Robert Creeley) ; Robert Creeley and George Baselitz's Signs ; Philip Lamantia ; Archie Rand's 'The Letter Paintings' ; Street Song: The Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the Poetry of Kevin Young ; The Poetry of Jessica Stockholder's Titles ; The Poet Painters: Francesco Clemente and Nicola De Maria ; and Open Books: (On Emblems for Robert Duncan by Jess).
John Yau is the author of many books of poetry, fiction, and criticism, including Borrowed Love Poems and The United States of Jasper Johns. His collaborations with artists have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Pompidou Center in Paris among many other venues. In 2002, France named him a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters. He is on the faculty of Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.