Intermedia Poetics in and out of Detroit's Alternative Press

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This article addresses the experimental Detroit-based publisher known as the
Alternative Press, who published eccentric works of art and poetry—in the form of bumper stickers and postcards, among other useful objects—between 1969 and 1999. While the Alternative Press is largely unknown to scholars, this article traces its influences on poets including Victor Hernández Cruz, Robert Creeley, Diane di Prima, Ted Berrigan, and Alice Notley. It suggests that though these poets (and additional Press contributors) are generally grouped according to other geographic or formal tendencies, involvement with the Alternative Press produced an aesthetics of intermedia experimentation that traversed poetic schools, eras, and allegiances in the late twentieth-century US. It situates the Alternative Press in the context of better known art-world movements such as Mail Art and Fluxus and links the Press’s founders—Ann and Ken Mikolowski—with other influential publishers and artists of the time, notably Dick Higgins. This article introduces substantial new archival research conducted at the University of Michigan Special Collections, and prompts scholars to consider how a Detroit-based publisher can remap the geographic and generic contours of late twentieth-century US poetry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-103
Number of pages16
JournalWord & Image
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Structured keywords

  • Bristol Poetry Institute
  • Centre for Material Texts


  • small press publishing
  • intermedia aesthetics
  • twentieth-century poetry
  • Mail Art


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