Everyday Reading: Poetry and Popular Culture in America (Book Acquired, Sometime in December of 2012)


I got a little lax with these “books acquired” posts at the end of last year—chalk it up to end of semester deadlines and meetings, family-oriented holiday stuff, and an awful illness. Anyway–

Mike Chasar’s Everyday Reading: Poetry and Popular Culture in Modern America, new from Columbia University Press is pretty cool: it’s kind of a dialogic study of how poetry evinces (or infiltrates or collides or emerges from or is bound by) a variety of popular media. Some of the most fascinating chapters dwell on scrapbooking. Here’s Columbia U of P’s blurb:

Exploring poetry scrapbooks, old-time radio show recordings, advertising verse, corporate archives, and Hallmark greeting cards, among other unconventional sources, Mike Chasar casts American poetry as an everyday phenomenon consumed and created by a vast range of readers. He shows how American poetry in the first half of the twentieth century and its reception helped set the stage for the dynamics of popular culture and mass media today.

Poetry was then part and parcel of American popular culture, spreading rapidly as the consumer economy expanded and companies exploited its profit-making potential. Poetry also offered ordinary Americans creative, emotional, political, and intellectual modes of expression, whether through scrapbooking, participation in radio programs, or poetry contests. Reenvisioning the uses of twentieth-century poetry, Chasar provides a richer understanding of the innovations of modernist and avant-garde poets and the American reading public’s sophisticated powers of feeling and perception.

A couple of snaps from the book—pics of pages from one of those scrapbooks—





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