Poets, Punks, and Pioneers: Self-Publishing in American Literature

Poets, Punks, and Pioneers
Thompson Library
Thompson Gallery (Room 125)
1858 Neil Avenue Mall
Columbus, OH 43210-1286

February 7, 2018 - May 20, 2018
Exhibit Hours: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday: 12:00 - 6:00 PM
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What comes to mind when you think of self-publishing? For many, it has a negative connotation, the domain of bad writing and obscure authors. Yet some of the most important, remarkable, and controversial works in American literature have been self-published.

Poets, Punks, and Pioneers highlights the untold stories of writers who dared to publish their own work and what they risked to do so. Walt Whitman pushed boundaries and changed readers’ ideas about what poetry could be in the nineteenth century. Early African American writers faced numerous challenges getting their work into print, yet still told their stories. Experimental poets in the twentieth-century created their own magazines and small presses after their work was excluded from established literary journals. Zine makers in the 1980s had no interest in participating in mainstream media. Twenty-first century authors have embraced electronic publishing.

Related Programming

  • From Page to Screen: Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
    Tuesday, March 20, 5:00-6:00 PM
    Thompson Library, Room 165

    Digital Humanities Librarian Leigh Bonds explains how Whitman’s printing process for Leaves of Grass resulted in several variants in the first edition and relates one scholar’s efforts to account for the extant copies. She then shifts focus to discuss The Walt Whitman Archive and to demonstrate the types of analysis that the digital edition of Leaves of Grass makes possible.

  • Zine Panel Discussion
    Wednesday, April 11, 4:30-5:30 PM
    Thompson Library, Room 165

    Doris creator Cindy Crabb, English Professor Thomas Davis, and The Dollhouse editor Carly Fink will discuss creating and reading zines, how they build community, and the ways in which they document perspectives and experiences that may otherwise be excluded by mainstream media.

  • Curator’s Tour for the Public
    Thursday, May 3, 6:00-7:00 PM
    Thompson Library Gallery

    Curator Jolie Braun will lead a guided tour of her exhibition.

All events are free and open to the public.

Exhibit Thompson Library Exhibit

Photo of Jolie Braun Jolie Braun
Curator Modrn Lit & Manuscript