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Kenneth Koch Writing Styles in Paradiso

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Contemporary Free Verse

A broad classification such as "contemporary free verse" is apt for "Paradiso," but it does little to define the full range of Koch's style. There is hardly a catchall category for a poet who "offers a smorgasbord of styles," as critic Ben Howard points out in Poetry. Howard notes that Koch's "varied fare" may include "prose" poems, a "fugue," a "parody," a "sequence of songs," "minimalist vignettes," "lyric and reflective poems," and even something Howard calls a "four-line squib." These and other forms of poetic construction make up the body of Koch's work, including the poems that accompany "Paradiso" in A Possible World. But "Paradiso" is one of Koch's more straightforward, conversational works—so much so that it reads more like a paragraph from a novel (or self-help manual) than poetic verse. Stretch the lines into complete sentences and the sound remains the same. No rhythm...

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This section contains 280 words
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Poetry for Students
Paradiso from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.