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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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“Each Day So Different, Yet Still Alike”

“Each Day So Different, Yet Still Alike”

James Schuyler and the Elusive Everyday

(p.70) 2 “Each Day So Different, Yet Still Alike”
Attention Equals Life

Andrew Epstein

Oxford University Press

Rather than seeing James Schuyler as a poet of traditional realism and mimesis, devoted to capturing “things as they are” and celebrating the daily, this chapter presents a new way of viewing Schuyler—as a practitioner of skeptical realism, drawn to formal experimentation and practices of collage and appropriation. Schuyler’s work is shaped by a profound sense of the everyday’s paradoxes and ambiguities, not least that the everyday is always both impoverished and bountiful, boring and fascinating, forgettable and memorable, repetitive and different at the same time. This chapter traces Schuyler’s distinctive poetics of everyday life, placing it in dialogue with the painting and aesthetic philosophy of Fairfield Porter and the radical collage aesthetic of Kurt Schwitters, and examining the various formal strategies, including a new form of long poem, that he deploys in his pursuit of the quotidian.

Keywords:   James Schuyler, everyday life, New York School of poetry, collage, Fairfield Porter, long poem, Kurt Schwitters, dailiness

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