John Ashbery Questions and Answers

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Explain the poem "Illustration" by John Ashbery.

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John Ashbery, a twentieth century poet, wrote his poems using free non-structured conversational verse.This is the style of the poem “Illustration.” The poem’s title refers to the representation of the poem’s scene and its meaning. His language is elevated and rarely colloquial. The poet intends to be studied and discussed.

According to biographical information, this poem is related to an event in Ashberry’s life when one of his teachers committed suicide.  The poem might be read as a character sketch of the figure of the “novice” or young nun who has entered the religious order but has yet to take the final vows.

Many of his poems use dialogue in telling his stories and are often divided into parts. The two parts of the poem should be regarded as a stimulus and a response. 

Part I Summary-

A  novice was sitting on a a...

(The entire section contains 462 words.)

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