Dear Ken,
 
Since when does ambiguity in poetry signal an "anything goes" attitude?
 
Empson didn't think so when he wrote Seven Types of Ambiguity in 1930, to wit:
 
The Seven Types
 
  1. The first type of ambiguity is the metaphor, that is, when two things are said to be alike which have different properties. This concept is similar to that of metaphysical conceit.
  2. Two or more meanings are resolved into one. Empson characterizes this as using two different metaphors at once.
  3. Two ideas that are connected through context can be given in one word simultaneously.
  4. Two or more meanings that do not agree but combine to make clear a complicated state of mind in the author.
  5. When the author discovers his idea in the act of writing. Empson describes a simile that lies halfway between two statements made by the author.
  6. When a statement says nothing and the readers are forced to invent a statement of their own, most likely in conflict with that of the author.
  7. Two words that within context are opposites that expose a fundamental division in the author's mind. (wikipedia)

Hardly a new idea!
 
Diana
 
 
> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 08:33:54 -0500
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Prufrock question
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
> Diana Manister wrote:
> > It makes sense to me that "we" here is both intra- and
> > inter-, within emotional conflict and interpersonal.
> >
> > Settling on any single meaning is reductive.
> That begs the question: Is it accurate?
> > Every poem does not mean every thing.
> Ken A


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