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Contemporary American Poetry between Community and Institution
In Poetic Culture, Christopher Beach questions the cultural significance of poetry, both as a canonical system and as a contemporary practice. By analyzing issues such as poetry's loss of audience, the "anthology wars" of the 1950s and early 1960s, the academic and institutional orientation of current poetry, the poetry slam scene, and the efforts to use television as a medium for presenting poetry to a wider audience, Beach presents a sociocultural framework that is fundamental to an understanding of the poetic medium. While calling for new critical methods that allow us to examine poetry beyond the limits of the accepted contemporary canon, and beyond the terms in which canonical poetry is generally discussed and evaluated, Beach also makes a compelling case for poetry and its continued vitality both as an aesthetic form and as a site for the creation of community and value.