john ashbery

If one were to approach a consensus that philosophical problems are, at root (though they may have no root), language problems, the poem emerges as a model of such anti-modelers. Yet Ashbery again slips these reigns. One feels that he has in mind the cynical legions sent out from Europe’s academies by Jakobson, Genette, Lacan, Bakhtin, Todorov, Shklovsky, and their post-structuralist seconds, when he casts out this barb:

There is no other way, and those assholes
Who would confuse everything with their mirror games
Which seem to multiply stakes and possibilities, or
At least confuse issue by means of an investing
Aura that would corrode the architecture
Of the whole in a haze of suppressed mockery,
Are beside the point. They are out of the game,
Which doesn’t exist until they are out of it.

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