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Poetry and Cultural Studies

A Reader

A collection of critical texts exploring poetry's engagement with the social

This volume is the first of its kind to collect classic and contemporary work focused on the intersection of poetry and cultural studies, reaching from Wordsworth's "Preface to Lyrical Ballads" and W. E. B. Du Bois's "Of the Sorrow Songs" to present-day essays on rap lyrics, queer poetry, folk poetry, and beyond. Rethinking notions of poetic experiences and their roles in popular or mass culture, these essays effectively delineate the relationship between poetry--a stereotypically private endeavor in the post-Enlightenment West--and the public social culture in which it is engendered.

The writings in Poetry and Cultural Studies also acknowledge the major contributions of both the Frankfurt School, with its close analyses of reading and writing lyric poetry as social practices, and of the Birmingham School's major contributions toward broadening the field of artifacts permissible for serious study with the primarily literary tools of close reading of textual/textural detail. It is a volume that speaks to students, academics, poetry enthusiasts, and those interested in social movements, including slammers, academics, workshop leaders, and poetry theorists.


"A brilliant resource."--Rain Taxi

"It is time for this book. Poetry is studied more and more frequently with a cultural studies approach, and Damon and Livingston provide the perfect balance in this collection."--Juliana Spahr, coeditor of Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary and author of several collections of poetry

"A reader that brings together foundational essays on the conjunction of poetry and cultural studies is not just timely but more and more urgent as the canon of poetry taught in the academy opens beyond a small clutch of 'masterpieces' and cultural studies begins to engage popular poetry, newspaper poetry, rap, slam, and other ephemeral performance poetries. This book is an important intervention in the reconfiguration of these fields of study."--Adalaide Morris, author of How to Live/What to Do: H.D.'s Cultural Poetics

Maria Damon is a professor of English at the University of Minnesota and the author of The Dark End of the Street: Margins in American Vanguard Poetry. Ira Livingston is a professor and chair of humanities and media studies at Pratt Institute; his most recent book is Between Science and Literature: An Introduction to Autopoetics.

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