© 2017

A Social Biography of Contemporary Innovative Poetry Communities

The Gift, the Wager, and Poethics


  • Provides insights into poetry communities

  • Analyzes the ways poetry communities operate and the motivations behind these social movements

  • Highlights how contemporary poetics survives with the help of innovative social networks


Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
    Pages 1-21
  3. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
    Pages 23-44
  4. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
    Pages 131-162
  5. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
    Pages 201-211
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 213-217

About this book


This book offers a new reading of Marcell Mauss’ and Lewis Hyde’s theories of poetry as gift, exploring poetry exchanges within 20th and 21st century communities of poets, publishers, audiences and readers operating along a gift economy.  The text considers trans-Atlantic case studies across fields of performance and ecopoetics, small press publishing and poetry institutions, with focus on Joan Retallack, Bob Holman, Anne Waldman, Bob Cobbing, and feminist performance. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett focuses on innovative poetry that resists commodification, drawing on ethnography to show parallels with gift giving tribal societies; she also considers the ethical, philosophical and psychological motivations for such exchanges with particular reference to poethics. This book will appeal to researchers in modern poetry, poetry teachers, advanced students of modern literature, and those with an interest in poetry.


Bob Holman Anne Waldman Naropa Writers Forum Ecopoethics environmentalism experimental poetry poetic tribes ethnographic ethnologists barter benefactor Kickstarter grants crowdfunding

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Newman University, BirminghamBirminghamUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Dr. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newman University, Birmingham. She studied English at Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London. Her poetry includes Rivering (2017) and Swims (2014). She is currently writing a book titled A Dictionary of the Soil.

Bibliographic information