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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 Tiny Invites Attention”

“The Tiny Invites Attention”

A. R. Ammons’s Quotidian Muse

(p.110) 3 “The Tiny Invites Attention”
Attention Equals Life

Andrew Epstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that A. R. Ammons, a hard-to-place writer frequently discussed as a nature poet or as a latter-day romantic poet striving for the visionary, the transcendental, and the sublime, should be viewed as a much more down-to-earth, skeptical, and formally experimental poet of the everyday. The chapter argues that Ammons’s obsessive fascination with the nature of the everyday and processes of attention reveal his close ties to American pragmatist philosophy. The chapter demonstrates that Ammons’s pursuit of the everyday leads him to develop an aesthetic of radical inclusivity, to experiment with poetic form, to create parables of attention that dramatize its workings, and to embark on unusual everyday-life projects that share some striking similarities with works usually considered much more avant-garde than his own.

Keywords:   A. R. Ammons, everyday-life project, pragmatism, long poem, New American Poets, everything work

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