Literature professor Lucy Alford will give a virtual presentation on her 2020 book, Forms of Poetic Attention, for the Stanford Humanities Center on Friday, November 20, at 5 p.m. (2 p.m. PST). Lorenzo Bartolucci (Stanford, Comparative Literature) will provide a brief response, followed by questions and an open discussion of the book.
You can find more information about the event and a link to register via shc.stanford.edu.
Forms of Poetic Attention (Columbia UP, 2020) combines close readings of a wide variety of poems with research in the philosophy, aesthetics, and psychology of attention. Drawing on the work of a wide variety of poets such as T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Frank O’Hara, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Harryette Mullen, Al-Khansā’, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arthur Rimbaud, and Claudia Rankine, Alford defines and locates the particular forms of attention poems both require and produce. She theorizes the process of attention-making—its objects, its coordinates, its variables—while introducing a broad set of interpretive tools into the field of literary studies. Forms of Poetic Attention makes the original claim that attention is poetry’s primary medium, and that the forms of attention demanded by a poem can train, hone, and refine our capacities for perception and judgment, on and off the page.