"Question is how they use it -- given the limits of the form"
Ramsey, Caroline Daniel
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This project analyzes the content and form of autobiographical poems by writers Frank O’Hara and Anne Carson. The paper situates both O’Hara’s and Carson’s poetic autobiographies within the larger contexts of period and genre, as well as within the scope of the authors’ poetic oeuvres. In addition to making substantial comparisons between the two poems, this paper asserts larger claims about O’Hara, Carson, and the generic parameters of poetic autobiography. Specifically, “Question is how they use it – given the limits of the form” argues that each of these experimental poems forges new ground for the poetic autobiography, offering new models for conceiving of selfhood and describing subjective experience. This thesis identifies how and why these innovative works confound preconceived notions of autobiography and poetry by disrupting conventions of gender, space, and number and offering fresh takes on the numerous potential of selfhood.