Kenneth Koch

Comments & Themes


    • Koch is the New York School incarnate. Discuss.


    • Should a talent for humor (wit, irony, you-name-it) be an obstacle in a poet's career?


    • How does the context of the New York School influence your answer?


    • Would you agree that this has been the case with Koch? Do you think a poet's ultimate goal should be seriousness?


    • How much do you value originality? Koch loved deliberate formal restrictions because these difficulties severely limited his possibilities and therefore triggered unconscious associations. Find examples of this technique and decide how successful they are as poems.


    • Koch and Ashbery may share many things, but they are also very different poets in their own right. Discuss their differences.


  • "One Train May Hide Another" is a little masterpiece compressed in a repetitive structure that somewhat undermines its merits. Would you agree?