Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Benjamin Lee

Committee Members

Allen Dunn, Lisi Schoenbach


This thesis describes and analyzes the postmodern comedy of New York School poet, Kenneth Koch and discusses the changes this comedy underwent throughout his lengthy career. The thesis is divided into four chapters. Chapter I explains the aesthetic of the New York School of poets as contrasted to the dominant New Critical compositional aesthetic embodied by poets such as Robert Lowell in the mid-century United States. Chapter II develops Koch’s comedy as expressing an emergent postmodernism. Chapter III discusses the various aspects of Koch’s comedy, sampling poems from across his career. Chapter IV traces the development and maturity of Koch’s comedy from the 1960s until his death in 2002.

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