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Attention Equals LifeThe Pursuit of the Everyday in Contemporary Poetry and Culture$
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Andrew Epstein

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199972128

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199972128.001.0001

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The Poetics of Everyday Life Since 1945

(p.1) Introduction
Attention Equals Life

Andrew Epstein

Oxford University Press

The introduction provides a theoretical and critical framework for this study, situating the book’s argument alongside recent critical studies of the everyday in literature. The chapter traces the evolution of the poetics of everyday life, especially the intensification of avant-garde interest in the quotidian following World War II. It argues that poetry has come to be defined as a form of attention, and it explores how gender, class, and political and cultural forces inflect the representation and experience of everyday life. Contrasting different approaches to the everyday in American poetry, the introduction identifies skeptical or experimental realism as an influential mode, which finds expression in experimental strategies and forms, including the long poem, constraint-based projects, appropriation, fragmentation, collage, resistance to epiphany, and radical mimesis.

Keywords:   contemporary poetry, everyday life, realism, avant-garde aesthetics

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