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Everyday ReadingPoetry and Popular Culture in Modern America$
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Mike Chasar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158657

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158657.001.0001

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Saving Poetry

Saving Poetry

(p.27) Chapter 1 Saving Poetry
Everyday Reading

Mike Chasar

Columbia University Press

This chapter looks at the poetry scrapbooks of Doris Ashley and Myrtle Eckert in an effort to introduce and partially represent the widespread method of American poetry reading and book making between the late Progressive era and World War II. Both literary works resemble each other, as many homemade albums were crafted and maintained by women who were charged with managing familial and communal reading materials. Despite the similarities, the scrapbooks contain equally significant differences such as their content, the private or social uses they have served, and the nature of their physical construction. Using these albums, the chapter illustrates two primary arguments. First, poetry scrapbooks provide some of the first material documents of popular culture, and suggest that poetry played an important role in shaping activities now associated with mass media phenomena. Second, poetry scrapbooks became an expressive genre that can serve as a vernacular counterpart to the collage practices of modernist writing.

Keywords:   poetry scrapbooks, Doris Ashley, Myrtle Eckert, American poetry, popular culture, mass media, modernist writing

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