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Title:Art and ephemerality: The cultural work of American poetry broadsides since 1960
Author(s):Sullivan, James Donal
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Nelson, Cary
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:Poems become available for cultural and political use, not as abstractable linguistic forms independent of their specific publication, but as printed artifacts that circulate in the culture. Broadsides--single, unbound, and self-contained printed sheets that can range in quality from mimeographs to letterpress prints, from ephemeral handbills to auratic art objects--have been a remarkably common, though critically neglected, medium for disseminating poetry since the 1960s. As a bibliographic category of great material variety in both physical quality and graphic design, broadsides bear traces of the range of their historical uses and indicate the roles of poetry as a cultural practice. In the poetry of racial politics--especially Dudley Randall's Broadside Press broadside series, which featured the work of Randall, Gwendolyn Brooks, and younger African American poets of the 1960s and 70s--and the antiwar movement--including work by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, and W. S. Merwin--peotry broadsides function as specific material interventions in social and political struggles. A section on Robert Lowell shows how artifacts that bear his name and his poems cite his cultural authority and associate his cultural prestige with specific political interests. The large number of posters and broadsides bearing the words and image of Allen Ginsberg constructed and disseminated his public figure, using it as a shorthand, endorsement, and icon for the counterculture. The craft of fine printing turns texts into art objects to the extent that fine print broadsides are often accessible through galleries and museums rather than libraries and booksellers, and the literary artifact takes on an aura like that of original visual art. The final chapter investigates the cultural significance of the printer's craft and the institutional setting of the artifact in terms of a portfolio by writer and artist Edwin Schlossberg and a broadside of a Diane Wakoski poem printed by Walter Hamady.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Sullivan, James Donal
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9211005
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9211005

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