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Exploring the form and significance of poetry in a digital age

Table of contents

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Nothingism: A Manifesto
Chapter 2 – A History and Theory of the Line in English Language Poetry   
Chapter 3 – How the Sonnet Turns
Chapter 4 – I Thought I Hated Inaugural Poems (But It Turns Out I Don't)
Chapter 5 – A Rising Tide Floats All Boats: 10 Lessons from a Quarter Century of Teaching
Chapter 6 – Notes on Not Writing: Revisiting The Changing Light at Sandover
Chapter 7 – The Loved One Always Leaves: The Poetic Friendship of Agha Shahid Ali and James Merrill


What is the internet doing to poetry? Good question! In Nothingism, Jason Schneiderman grapples with the way that digital culture has begun to reshape America’s poetry landscape, examining this profound shift in the way that poetry is written, read, and taught. He dives into the history of the poetic line and how previous media (oral, manuscript, print) have shaped our understanding of exactly what a poem is. In considering the transformations of poetry in the digital age, he finds that the transition from print to digital culture mirrors the earlier transition from manuscript to print culture. 

In this collection, the essays range from blistering manifesto to deep historical dives to gentle classroom guidance to considerations of the poets of James Merrill and Agha Shahid Ali, moving between the theoretical and the practical. Nothingism is both deeply personal and highly erudite, providing an engaging and scholarly account of reading, writing, and teaching poetry as our world continues its unsupervised lurch toward digital culture.

Jason Schneiderman is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Self Portrait of Icarus as a Country on Fire (Red Hen, 2024). He is Professor of English at CUNY’s BMCC and teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.