You Asked For a Poem by Larry Levis

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“A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself” this quote by E.M. Forster alludes to the concept of metafiction in poetry as a whole. According to the Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms, “Metafiction is a kind of fiction that self-consciously addresses the devices of fiction…[M]etafiction does not let the readers forget they are reading a work of fiction.” Some common metafictive strategies include a story about someone writing a story, a piece of fiction that references specific conventions of a story, or characters that are aware they are in a story or work of fiction. The poems, “Functional Poem by Mark Halliday and “The Poem You Asked For” by Larry Levis, embody various conceptions metafiction.

The metafictional devices in Larry Levis’ “The Poem You Asked For” are found in overt and subtle ways throughout the poem. The first metafictional device is the poem is about a character writing a poem. The narrator references the odious poem in every single stanza. Despite the narrator’s best efforts, the poem r...

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