Bonfire of the Vanity Presses (2010)

My PhD thesis, entitled Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: Self-Publishing in the Field of Australian Poetry, was approved in 2010, and was undertaken at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia between 2005 and 2009.

Here’s the abstract:

This thesis explores the practice of self-publishing in the field of Australian poetry. Self-publishing today can be seen as part of a long tradition of alternative publishing. Despite changes in the technologies of self-publishing, including the continuing reinvention of non-book publishing activities, poetry remains an area of the arts where the self-published book contains both symbolic and social capital. Rather than offering a basic defence of self-publishing or a textual analysis of self-published works, the Exegesis ‘reimagines’ self-publishing within what Bourdieu might term the ‘field’ of Australian poetry. The thesis also incorporates an Artefact composed of published, self-published and privately-published books. Despite technological changes in the way books are published, it argues that non-mainstream print publishing forms such as the chapbook still play a significant role in fostering innovation in poetic forms. In doing so it seeks a more sophisticated understanding of the literary field, and the role of books as signifiers of prestige within that field.

The artefact consists of six chapbooks: The Happy Farang (2000); 8 poems (2002); Re: (2005); Abendland (2006); Dead Poem Office (2007); and Morgenland (2007).

The thesis also includes a section on the making of We Will Disappear (2007).