Equipment for Living

On Poetry and Pop Music

Equipment for Living

Brilliant, illuminating criticism from a superstar poet—a refreshing, insightful look at how works of art, specifically poetry and popular music, can serve as essential tools for living.

How can art help us make sense—or nonsense—of the world? If wrong life cannot be lived rightly, as Theodor Adorno had it, what weapons and strategies for living wrongly can art provide? With the same intelligence that animates his poetry, Michael Robbins addresses this weighty question while contemplating the idea of how strange it is that we need art at all.

Ranging from Prince to Def Leppard, Lucille Clifton to Frederick Seidel, Robbins’s mastery of poetry and popular music shines in Equipment for Living. He has a singular ability to illustrate points with seemingly disparate examples (Friedrich Kittler and Taylor Swift, to W.B. Yeats and Anna Kendrick’s “Cups”). Robbins weaves a discussion on poet Juliana Spahr with the different subsets of Scandinavian black metal, illuminating subjects in ways that few scholars can achieve. Equipment for Living is also a wonderful guide to essential poetry and popular music.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476747095 | 
  • July 2017
List Price $24.00
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About the Author

Michael Robbins

Michael Robbins is the author of the poetry collections Alien vs. Predator and The Second Sex as well as the book Equipment for Living: On Poetry and Pop Music. His selected poems are featured in the second volume of the newly revived Penguin Modern Poets series. His poetry and criticism have appeared in The New YorkerPoetryThe Paris ReviewHarper'sBookforum, and many other publications. He received his PhD in English from the University of Chicago and lives in Brooklyn with the best cat in the world.

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