The paradox at the heart of "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" is that what is revealed, in a text that represents a subject, is the very representationality of that subject. Phrased as an oxymoron, the subject is true fiction. This fiction of the subject, furthermore, is highly unstable. While the poem plays at being "plain"-spoken, it is too indeterminate for the speaker objectified as "you" to comprehend. And while he indirectly claims systematicity for poetic language in stanza two, that systematicity immediately turns out to involve "play. The poem hints at hexameter, hints at accentual verse, and hints at end rhyme, without systematically practicing any of these.
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Look at it talking to you. You look out a window Or pretend to fidget. You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other.
This poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot. It is that and other things, Bringing a system of them into play. Well, actually, yes, but I consider play to be A deeper outside thing, a dreamed role-pattern, As in the division of grace these long August days Without proof.
And before you know It gets lost in the steam and chatter of typewriters. It has been played once more. Or have adopted a different attitude.
And the poem Has set me softely down beside you. Role Reversal If a poem were to address the reader directly instead of taking a usual narrative point of view, what would the poem say? At first glance, the poem seems a structured mass of words, simply constructed. An attitude of regret is also apparent. The simple, converstional language used in the poem is one of the first elements of diction that the reader may notice. You look out a window or pretend to fidget.
This seems peculiar, as it is one of the first statements in the poem. Ironically, it is made even before the reader has had a chance to fully examine its additional text. In effect , this reverses the traditional relationship between a piece of literature and its audience. Because the conventional role of the reader seems to be quite conrolling in that she holds the poer to examine and scrutinize literature in general, this role-reversal may come as a surprise to her.
No matter what the author or speaker intends to generate through a work of literaturein general, it is up to the reder to truly decidee its meaning. Again and again in the realm of poetry there lies the possible nabilty for the reader to grasp whatever message the speaker has put forth.
Paradoxes and Oxymorons
They veer as the mind often does, and so within each of his poems readers encounter a diversity of images, tones, and sonic elements. Each of his lines tends to approach from a slightly different angle, or with a slightly or at times abruptly different tone. But what is it to grasp a poem? To get it? Are we really letting the poem down?
Paradoxes and Oxymorons by John Ashbery: Summary and Analysis
Read More Writing Ideas 1. Try writing another poem that addresses poetry or language. Paradoxes are statements that, though contradictory, are true; oxymorons also combine contradictory terms. What are some of the paradoxes in the poem? Some of the oxymorons? How do the title and the first line set up or undermine your expectations for the poem?
John Ashbery’s Paradoxes and Oxymorons Paradoxes O Essay
He grew up on a farm in nearby Sodus and was educated at Harvard and Columbia. After a Fulbright fellowship that took him to France, he stayed on and worked as an art critic for several newspapers and magazines, finally returning to become executive editor of Art News from to His long poem "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" mixes critical analysis of a Renaissance painting by Parmigianino with reflections on his own mental process, though it lacks the cheerful surrealism and aggressive disjunctiveness of many of his shorter poems. In his early work, his approach sometimes seemed anti-representational, with a focus on linguistic events and the structures of thought. As a result, he was often associated with abstract expressionist painting of the s and s. But as his witty incorporation of linguistic commonplaces and public speech was matched by the use of multiple references to popular culture, his work became more accessible and his project more distinctive. Rapid changes in focus and mood still marked his poems, but he was now questioning how a commodified world might shape human consciousness.
Introduction & Overview of Paradoxes and Oxymorons
Look at it talking to you. You look out a window Or pretend to fidget. You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other. This poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot. It is that and other things, Bringing a system of them into play. Well, actually, yes, but I consider play to be A deeper outside thing, a dreamed role-pattern, As in the division of grace these long August days Without proof.