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Punk literature: Wikis


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A cover of the punk zine Maximum RocknRoll.

Punk literature (also called punk lit and, rarely, punklit) is a form of literature that emerged from the punk subculture. The attitude and ideology of punk rock gave rise to distinctive characteristics in the writing it manifested. It has had an influence on the popular transgressional fiction literary genre and several science fiction and fantasy genres have been derived from it.



The punk rock subculture has had its own underground press in the form of punk zines, punk-related magazine circulations produced independently and with a highly limited reception and release. Punk zines chronicle and help to define punk in a particular area. Most punk scenes have at least one punk zine, which feature news, gossip, cultural criticism, and interviews with local or touring punk rock bands. Some punk zines take the form of perzines. Important punk zines include Maximum RocknRoll, Punk Planet, Cometbus, Girl Germs, Kill Your Pet Puppy, J.D.s, Sniffin' Glue, Absolutely Zippo and Punk Magazine. Punk journalists and magazine contributors include: Mykel Board, John Holmstrom, Robert Eggplant, Cristy C. Road and Aaron Cometbus.


tSome of The Medway Poets in 2003: Bill Lewis, Sexton Ming, Robert Earl and Billy Childish
John Cooper Clarke in 1979

Punk poetry is perhaps the best recognized of traditional punk literature. Many punk poets are also musicians. Major punk poets include: 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, was formed in 1979, and 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.

A description by Charles Thomson of a Medway Poets performance contrasts with the sedate image of traditional poetry:

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]


Punk has highly influenced the contemporary cyberpunk literary genre and its various derivatives. Punk zines have also 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 identified as "punk" in the past. Love and Rockets is a comic with a plot involving the Los Angeles punk scene.




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