Punk poetry

This article is about literature related to the punk subculture. For literary genres with "punk" in their names, see cyberpunk derivatives.

Punk literature (also called punk lit and, rarely, punklit) is literature related to the punk subculture. The attitude and ideologies of punk rock gave rise to distinctive characteristics in the writing it manifested. It has influenced the transgressional fiction literary genre, the cyberpunk genre and their derivatives.


Further information: underground press and punk zine

The punk rock subculture has had its own underground press in the form of punk zines, which are punk-related print magazines produced independently and distributed on a small scale. Many regional punk scenes have had at least one punk zine, which features news, gossip, social commentary, music reviews and interviews with punk rock bands. Notable punk zines include Maximum RocknRoll, Punk Planet, Cometbus, Girl Germs, Kill Your Pet Puppy, J.D.s, Sniffin' Glue, Absolutely Zippo and Punk Magazine. Notable punk journalists and magazine contributors include Mykel Board, John Holmstrom, Robert Eggplant and Aaron Cometbus.


Many punk poets are also musicians, including Richard Hell, Jim Carroll, Patti Smith, John Cooper Clarke, Seething Wells, Raegan Butcher, and Attila the Stockbroker. Jim Carroll's autobiographical works are among the first known examples of punk literature. The Medway Poets, a British punk performance group founded in 1979, included punk musician Billy Childish. They are credited with influencing Tracey Emin, who was associated with them as a teenager. Members of the Medway Poets later formed the Stuckists art group. Charles Thomson's description of a Medway Poets performance highlights its difference from a traditional poetry reading:

Bill Lewis jumped on a chair, threw his arms wide (at least once hitting his head on the ceiling) and pretended he was Jesus. Billy sprayed his poems over anyone too close to him and drank whisky excessively. Miriam told the world about her vagina. Rob and I did a joint performance posing, with little difficulty, as deranged, self-obsessed writers. Sexton finally introduced us to his girlfriend, Mildred, who turned out to be a wig on a wadge of newspaper on the end of an iron pipe.[1]


The punk subculture has greatly influenced the cyberpunk literary genre and its various derivatives. Punk zines have spawned a considerable amount of punk-oriented fiction, some of which has made an impact outside of punk circles. Many of the major works of Kathy Acker reflect themes of punk literature, most notably Blood and Guts in High School. Daphne Gottlieb's poetic works are similar in motif. The novelist and screenwriter Diablo Cody has self-identified as "punk" in the past. Love and Rockets is a comic with a plot involving the Los Angeles punk scene.


See also

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