I was just wondering if ambiguity is really what everybody is after. But if it is the case, why?

KK: It seems an essential part of true ambiguity that it not seem ambiguous in any obvious way. Do you agree?

JA: I don’t know. I’m wondering why all these people want that ambiguity so much.

KK: Have your speculations about ambiguity produced any results as yet?

JA: Only this: that ambiguity seems to the same thing as happiness–or pleasant surprise, as you put it. (I am assuming that from the moment that life cannot be one continual orgasm, real happiness is impossible and pleasant surprise is promoted to the front rank of the emotions.)

John Ashbery: A Conversation With Kenneth Koch

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