John Ashbery’s Paradoxes and Oxymorons This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level. Look at it talking to you. You look out a window. While I don’t think I agree with Postmodern American Poetry editor Paul Hoover that “John Ashberry was recognized as the leading poet of his. Like his paradoxical formulation “on the outside looking out,” the oxymoron “A deeper outside thing” is an apt description of Ashbery’s poetry.

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This fiction of the subject, furthermore, is highly unstable.

Introduction & Overview of Paradoxes and Oxymorons

Some may approach from one angle and others may approach from another angle. Penguin,p. We still have not tamed the kingdom of the word. The speaker’s response to his own question is evasive “It is that” and vague “other things”. Because of the paradoxes and contradictions, multiple reading becomes possible. The paradox at the heart of “Paradoxes and Oxymorons” is that what is oxymrons, in a text that represents a subject, is the very representationality of that subject.

Ashbery’s speaker is deeply Romantic in visualizing an ideal correspondence between self and world-yet stringently Postmodern in depicting this world as ineradicably already representational, hence secondary, hence inconclusive.

It is that and other things, Bringing a system of them into play. Is it really just metered prose, in any form?

Phrased as an oxymoron, the subject is true fiction. When these phrases are brought together they lead to paradoxes, contradictions and oxymoron. Because each person is undergoing oxymofons, it is reflected in the poem. Look at it talking to you. This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.


The word is to put it plainly unlettered. Written between March and mid-October in the poet’s newly acquired Victorian-era house in upstate New York, Shadow Train contains kohn sixteen-line poems that some critics have likened to a sonnet sequence.

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The poem does not follow exactly any formal structure; some lines follow hexameter, while others follow end rhyme and some others have accentual verse. Related Topics Melodic Trains: This contradictory meaning is nothing but the reflection of the self.

A deeper outside thing, a dreamed role-pattern, As in the division of grace these long August days Without proof. Paradoxes and Oxymorons by John Ashbery: In school All the thought got combed out: Now open them on a thin vertical path. As per this theory, once a text is written, it is free from the grip of the author and the authorship dies immediately at the moment. The poem is you.

One tries to represent all those things in the poem. Paradoxes are statements that contain often inexplicable or contradictory elements that nonetheless may still be true in some way.

John Ashberry’s “Paradoxes and Oxymorons” | In a Dark Time … The Eye Begins to See

Readers interested in grasping Ashbery’s work would be better served by reading a complete collection of his poems, treating them as part of the longer poem of Ashbery’s life’s work. Because Ashbery’s poems rely heavily on associative thinking and connections between and among lines, images, and ideas are often tenuous at best, and critical interpretations of individual poems may yield little in the way of insight.


The Romantic pathos of the failure of connection between poetry and the subject, in stanza 1, is ironized by the punning sense of miss to feel the lack of a person or thing as misunderstanding to lack meaningand the oxymoronic, parodically sentimental allusion, in stanza 2, to the sad poem no less nonsensical, on one level, than the idea of a sad math problem. But actual idea is not represented in the poem. Get Paradoxes and Oxymorons from Amazon.

The poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot. The medieval town, with frieze Of boy scouts from Nagoya? Read more from the Study Guide.

John Ashberry’s “Paradoxes and Oxymorons”

Each weekday I post a selected poem and a brief improvised appreciation. John Ashbery in Modern American Poetry. Copyrights Paradoxes and Oxymorons from Gale. Read more on John Ashbery: The combination of familiarity and strangeness makes the poem both appealing and challenging, helping and pushing the reader to venture beyond his former patterns of thought.

What was left was like a field. Follow Us on Facebook. And the poem Has set me softly down beside you. But we Go back to them as to a wife, leaving The mistress we desire?