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Approaching post-World War II poetry from a postmodern critical perspective, this study challenges the prevailing assumption that experimental forms signify political opposition while traditional forms are politically conservative. Blasing shows how four major postwar poets--Frank O'Hara, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, and James Merrill--cannot be read as politically conservative because formally traditional or vice versa. The work of these poets plays an important cultural role precisely by revealing how meanings and values do not inhere in forms but are always and irreducibly rhetorical.
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