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Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape

Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape


John Ashbery

Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

"Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape" is a sestina with no regular rhythm. If you take away one thing from this poem, it's that you should never give the Sea Hag keys to your apartment. If...


The only time the speaker really enters into the poem is in the first line, when he seems to read to us the "first of the undecoded messages." But he is best compared to the omniscient narrator of...


"Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape" centers on the age-old question: the country or the city? See, things are cheaper in the country and you don't have to worry about green lightning, bu...

Sound Check

This poem sounds like a Mad Lib filled out by someone who had just watched the Popeye cartoon:The first of the (adjective) messages read: "(name) sits in (place),Unthought of. From that (noun) of a...

What's Up With the Title?

Indeed, what is up with this title? The poem has nothing to do with farm implements, rutabagas, or any landscape apart from a shoebox apartment. Let's start with the basics. "Farm implements" refer...

Calling Card

The sestina is not the only complicated, technical poetic form that Ashbery has attempted throughout his long career. Pantoums, villanelles, long poems – he's done 'em all. He's what you migh...


We know: we're underestimating how hard this poem is, right? Not so fast. If W.H. Auden, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, could enjoy Ashbery's work without being able to understand e...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

It's about cartoon characters: how could we not give it a "G" rating? While we wouldn't put it past Ashbery to mix sex and cartoons, he doesn't do so here. And while we don't think Popeye scratchin...

Shout Outs

"This is My Country," patriotic song (lines 12)Popeye (line 1)The Sea Hag (line 4)Wimpy (line 7)Swee'pea (line 15)Olive Oyl (line 19)Alice the Goon (line 34)

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