Poetic Culture

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ISBN 978-0-8101-6673-8
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ISBN 978-0-8101-1677-1

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ISBN 978-0-8101-1678-8
Publication Date
August 1999
Page Count
240 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Poetic Culture

Contemporary American Poetry between Community and Institution
Christopher Beach
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.
About the Author

Christopher Beach is an adjunct assistant professor at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of several books in the field of American poetry and one book on American cinema including American Film Comedy. He is also the editor of Artifice and Indeterminacy: An Anthology of New Poetics.


"Proceeding sociologically, [Beach] maps a sprawling landscape of poetic institutions (like academic writing programs, 'structured by some force outside the immediate control or jurisdiction of the poets') and communities ('poets with shared interests, goals, orientation, or background,' like the Beats or performers at various spoken-word venues)." —Boston Review