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To Various Persons Talked To All At Once

Kenneth Koch

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2002-10-30
Added by: Doug Brian
The late Kenneth Koch (pronounced "Coke", as one of his poems explains) was still very much alive when this poem was published in the 25th Anniversary issue of American Poetry Review, May/June 1999. I like to read it as if reading it aloud. Try saying

"Well, just damn you *and* the thermometer!" without laughing...
Why???
2004-10-17
Added by: Lisa G.
Maybe I just don't get it, but I think this may be the most pointless poem I have ever read.
Various conversations
2005-10-28
Added by: Stephen Waclawski
Ironically, i think the point of most of these kinds of poems is the pointlessness of poetry in general. It's pure play with language after all, and this is one of the better examples.

As you read it your mind tries to link up the statements, even though the title infers that there may be nothing but a tenuous connection (the fact of their inclusion in this poem) linking the lines together. It's playing with the reader's perceptions, and the interaction of conscious mind (the part holding onto the title) and subconscious mind (the part trying to link unlinked statements).

I'm sure there's possibly some intrigue in it as well though I can't be sure. Next step for me I suppose is trying to calculate how many of the lines might come from the same conversation.

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