Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Pragmatics

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Pragmatics

Article excerpt

It is cocktail hour

in this desert paradise,

and a medievalist from Alabama

is telling me about the Confessio Amantis.

He mentions his husband,

and I, the thrall of

some stubborn discourse routine,

some cooperative principle,

nearly offer a correction.

Instead, for the third time this evening,

I back into the woman behind me,

a linguist from Rotterdam,

whose name is Wypkje.

Tonight I have serenaded her

with Frisian surnames I have known.

This is not flirting, I tell myself,

but the awkward two-step

of onomastics.

Or perhaps of speech act theory:

I apologize and say I'll keep my distance.

She is laughing, and I notice her blue eyes.

Let us go then, you and I,

to a panel on festive comedy. …

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