“Attention Equals Life”: Now Out in Paperback!

For anyone who has been dying to get my recent book but couldn’t stomach the cost, good news! It’s just been published in paperback by Oxford University Press, now at a more affordable price — plus it’s got some new blurbs/review excerpts on the back.

Attention Equals Life is an exemplary work of criticism. Authoritative but not dogmatic, at once wide-ranging and immersed in the textual details of individual poems, it provides in each chapter both a conceptual map for understanding broad cultural and aesthetic trends and the sort of sensitive and synthetic account of a poet’s career that will stand as the starting point for future scholars and students. It is certain to become one of the definitive literary histories of postwar and contemporary American poetry.” — Brian Glavey, Contemporary Literature

“A book of enormous breadth and ambition, Attention Equals Life is at once astonishing and reaffirming, challenging and clarifying. It engages more broadly than its scholarly focus would suggest. Epstein (Florida State Univ.) explores contemporary poetry’s obsession with the quotidian, setting that obsession in literary context (both historical and current) and identifying it as contemporaneous with cultural interest in the ordinary, the commonplace, the “real.” His argument is persuasive, the information is abundant and compelling, the endnotes and bibliography are extensive if not exhaustive, and the style is accessible. This book has something for everyone-poets, critics, teachers of literature and contemporary culture, fans of contemporary poetry, and even those who think that no poetry of value has emerged in the US since Robert Frost…Summing Up: Essential.” –J. A. Zoller, Choice.

“Epstein’s Attention Equals Life (2016) offers a powerful account of the preoccupation with the everyday and the construction of what he calls a “skeptical realism” in postwar US poetry. … Epstein’s argument is not only original but persuasive too. It has that quality that only the best arguments do of cutting through an already well-plowed field in order to reveal similarities and affinities between otherwise aesthetically disparate materials.” –Christopher Breu, American Literary History