Titular Tilting in John Ashbery: How to (Un)title a Poem

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Among the numerous poems published by the American poet John Ashbery since his debut in 1956 one finds a few that specifically deal with the issue of entitlement. These poems do not appear in one single of his volumes, but are disseminated throughout Ashbery’s career and production. Their occurrence neither follows any particular plan, nor do they form part of a larger poetic or thematic whole in the volumes where they have been published. Rather, they are perhaps better characterized as “typically atypical of Ashbery’s poetry” – to put it in paradoxical terms used by John Shoptaw in his 1994 monograph on the poet. Despite their semblance of inconspicuousness and conformity with a distinct Ashberian tone, a closer look reveals dislocations that tend to marginalize them not only in relation to companion poems in each volume, but also to Ashbery’s poetry in general. If, however, anything links these poems to other poems of his oevre, it seems to be that their marginalization also extends to their relation to the poetic as such. Like most of Ashbery’s poems, they may look like poems, but very often they turn out to raise significant questions about their very title to poetry.
In this paper I shall discuss two ways in which this double marginalizing of Ashbery’s entitlement poems may lead to considerations of their potentially ‘untitled’ status.
RedaktørerCamelia Elias
Antal sider22
ForlagEyecorner Press
ISBN (Trykt)9788799245659
StatusUdgivet - 2008


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