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Everyday Reading: Poetry and Popular Culture in Modern America

Mike Chasar

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Paper, 336 pages, Halftones: 50,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15865-7
$27.50 / £19.00

November, 2012
Cloth, 336 pages, Halftones: 50,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15864-0
$84.50 / £58.50

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.

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About the Author

Mike Chasar is an assistant professor of English at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He is the coeditor of Poetry After Cultural Studies and maintains the blog Poetry & Popular Culture at

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