Thursday, February 18, 2021

The contrast between quoting Denise Levertov and quoting John Ashbery

When I was posting daily quotes from John Ashbery's poems, I rarely had difficulty finding passages to quote. But with my current quotations from Denise Levertov's poems, it can be tricky to extract a passage. In "In Mind", for example, the first sentence introduces a woman who becomes the subject of the second, so quoting the latter alone would distort the passage. And the third sentence is hard to quote alone, too: it begins with "and" and contrasts a second woman with the first as figures in the speaker's "mind". In contrast, the associative leaps of Ashbery's poems are easy to quote from without the absence of context causing a problem. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 18 February 2021)


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