Postcolonial types of ambiguity: on interculturality and anglophone poetic form
Boynton, T. J.
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Boynton, T.J. (2019). Postcolonial Types of Ambiguity: On Interculturality and Anglophone Poetic Form. College Literature 46(4), 761-794
Since at least the publication of William Empson’s seminal study of the concept in 1930, ambiguity has been acknowledged as an unparalleled source of poetic significance. Poetry’s defining feature, its verbal economy, positions ambiguity—the undecidability and consequent flexibility of meaning—as an indispensable avenue for cultivating perspectival richness—for doing more, in short, with less. Duplicities of diction, varied implications of metaphor and simile, ironies of voice, structural forkings of grammar through lineation and syntax: these are but a few of the strategies by which a skilled poet might, through singular poetic elements, express multiple ideas toward a given subject.
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