Robert von Hallberg

Boring in a different way (PoemTalk 127)

John Ashbery, 'The Short Answer'

Left to right: Susan McCabe, Marjorie Perloff, Robert von Hallberg at Marjorie Perloff's home in Los Angeles

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis and Zach Carduner traveled to Los Angeles to the home of Marjorie Perloff where they made a sound recording and film of a convesation about a poem by John Ashbery with Susan McCabe, Robert von Hallberg, and Marjorie herself. The poem is “The Short Answer” from a late book, Quick Question (2013). There are, abounding, the usual marooned pronouns, and the typically high “daftness quotient.” Marjorie and Al chose this poem with the goal of exploring of what it means to read closely and talk in detail about a seemingly “minor” poem from a “major” poet — a poem that might strike readers as an effect of Ashbery’s incessant and seemingly easeful poetic fermentation.

Tests of Poetry

Is There a Difference between the Literary History of Modern Poetry and That of Nineteenth-Century Poetry? I Say Yes

Spiller's Literary History of the U.S.

In 2003 a forum was held to discuss the Cambridge Literary History of the U.S. One discussion featured disagreements about how to handle the history of American poetry and of literary-historical method as applicable--or perhaps not--to poetry and poetics. I was asked to comment on the debate, and my short essay was published in a special section of an issue of American Literary History. Here is a link to that essay.

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