In 2007, John Ashbery celebrated his eightieth birthday by publishing his twenty-third book of poetry, as vital and engaged a poet as when he graduated from Harvard University in 1949. Ashbery was part of the enormously creative group of American poets who came of age after World War II; among his peers were Frank O'Hara, Barbara Guest, and Kenneth Koch. As a student, Ashbery wanted to be a painter. His poetry parallels developments in painting, with his long, sinuous lines of verse and the freshness of his language echoing the experiments of both abstract expressionism and pop art. Comfortable with combining genres from surrealism to advertising copy, Ashbery shows an overarching interest in maintaining the Romantic tradition in modern times. He has won all the major literary and poetry awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975).