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Paradoxes and Oxymorons Criticism

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Shadow Train (1981), the collection in which "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" appears, received mixed reviews. In his study of Ashbery's poetry On the Outside Looking Out, critic John Shoptaw calls "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" the most popular poem in Shadow Train and notes that at one point Ashbery considered making it the title poem of the collection but then thought better of it when he realized that many readers might not know what an oxymoron was. Shoptaw writes that "The poem itself voices Ashbery's populist impulse to reach the common reader, who thinks poems are constructed on many interpretive levels." In his essay on Ashbery for American Writers, Shoptaw says that "Although Shadow Train is dwarfed by earlier volumes such as Three Poems or As We Know, it may be the right place to begin for the reader who wants to learn Ashbery's alphabet." Vernon Shetley, on the other hand, cautions...

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This section contains 326 words
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Poetry for Students
Paradoxes and Oxymorons from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.