Lucy Alford - "Forms of Poetic Attention" - Srikanth Reddy

Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Lucy Alford

Lucy Alford discusses Forms of Poetic Attention with Srikanth Reddy. A Q&A and signing will follow the conversation. 

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago's Program in Creative Writing 

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required). 

About the book: A poem is often read as a set of formal, technical and conventional devices. Forms of Poetic Attention asks the question: might poetry be better grasped as an act of attention? Identifying a crucial link between poetic form and the forming of attention, this project unfolds a typology of the forms of attention poetic language both requires and produces. In doing so, I draw on diverse fields, including philosophy, psychology and cognitive science. I explore poetic attention through close readings of such poets as Wallace Stevens, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Audre Lorde, Frank O’Hara, and Claudia Rankine. To show the trans-historical nature of the relationship between poetry and attention, I complement this modern focus with considerations of earlier western and nonwestern poets, including Sappho, Al-Khansa’, Shakespeare, Hölderlin, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Benn, al-Bayyati, and Celan. I argue that poetry’s primary medium is attention, and that the forms of attention demanded by poetry can train, hone, and refine our capacities for perception and judgment, on and off the page.

About the author: Lucy Alford is a Collegiate Assistant Professor in Humanities and Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago, where she teaches and writes on modern and contemporary poetry and comparative poetics. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Stanford University, as well as an MLitt by Research and PhD from the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Modern Thought. Her book, Forms of Poetic Attention (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2019), is a comparative exploration of the particular modes of attention poems both produce and require. Her scholarly work has appeared in ebr, Philosophy & Literature, Dibur, and Modern Language Notes, and her poems have been published in Literary Matters, The Warwick Review, Harpur Palate, Streetlight, and, in Italian translation, Atelier.

About the interlocutor: Srikanth Reddy is the author of Voyager, named one of the best books of poetry in 2011 by The New Yorker, The Believer, and National Public Radio. His previous collection, Facts for Visitors, won the 2005 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts; his poetry and criticism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Poetry, The Guardian (UK), and numerous other venues. Reddy is currently Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637