Analysis: Calling Card
Technical Forms With a Sense of Humor
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 might call a "virtuoso," like a concert pianist who can play all of the most difficult pieces. But, funny enough, he's not an elitist about it. He doesn't care if you know he's using a form invented in 12th century France, as in "Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape." He'd rather make you chuckle by adding absurd twists like Olive scratching her leg on geraniums.