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Poetry Unbound


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Poetry Unbound
1. Letters of Fire
2. Receiving Millay
3. “Overlook the Poem, but Look the Picture Over”
4. Once More Into the Fray
5. I Need a Phony Poet Tonight
6. From Murder to milk and honey

About the Author

Mike Chasar is associate professor of English at Willamette University. He is the author of Everyday Reading: Poetry and Popular Culture in Modern America (Columbia, 2012) and the coeditor of Poetry After Cultural Studies (2011).


This is a persuasive, thoroughly researched, memorable, and often delightful book. Mike Chasar has excelled in his ambitious coverage of primary sources. Moreover, this is a book that addresses questions that come up frequently in the poetry world about where and why and how "poetry matters," and about its place in the wider culture.
*Stephanie Burt, author of Don’t Read Poetry: A Book About How to Read Poems*

Poetry is more than a creature of voice, hand, and press, as Chasar shows with verve, wit, insight, and sparkling detail. The public life of poetry in the twentieth-century United States is also a secret history of multimedia. Each medium remakes poetry. And poetry, in turn, remakes the media in which we live, move, and breathe. I love this book!
*John Durham Peters, author of The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media*

By disclosing what are at once poetry’s most inscrutable and its most public aspects, Chasar reorients our understanding of poetry’s relation to the media, throwing gasoline on the fire of a question we have dodged for too long: what is a poem? The old answers to that query won’t hold up in the wake of Chasar’s attention to the vulgar afterlives of bookish things.
*Daniel Tiffany, author of My Silver Planet: A Secret History of Poetry and Kitsch*

With Poetry Unbound, Mike Chasar secures his place as our foremost investigator of poetry as a popular practice—ordinary, ubiquitous, and, indeed, fundamental to American cultural life. Poetry is dead; long live poetry, untethered from the constraints of the printed page and in the wilds of new media.
*Rita Raley, author of Tactical Media*

In this timely and engaging study, Chasar examines the largely untold story of poetry as it has appeared in various forms of emerging media over the last century and a half . . .This well-written book will have a broad audience.

For those stuck in the dichotomy of print and screen, or the dichotomy of analog and digital, this book is for you. It is an argument that looks beyond these dichotomies, into what binds and frees, of what something is (unbound) when it is not limited to one type of inscription.

Chasar’s argument powerfully renovates how we imagine 'a literary form available to all.'

While poetry studies has in recent years increasingly considered the ways in which print . . . mediates the transmission of poetry, Chasar extends and complicates this exploration through his emphasis on non-print media and in doing so necessarily enlarges what should count as poetry and what strategies we might use to study it.
*Journal of Modern Periodical Studies*

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