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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Ramones: A Preliminary Towards the Poetics of Punk


Despite a wide variety of writing on punk as style, social phenomena, counter subculture, and politicized youth movement, little has been said on the literary nature of the genre; if there is a literary nature of punk, it remains to be written about. This paper begins to answer that unknown. By closely reading and listening to the lyrics and records of many punk bands from the earliest New York 70s scene, where punk most tangibly began before crossing over to the UK and then the world, I highlight and analyze what could be considered the formal poetic features of punk verse while marrying it to the structure of the music. The focus on the Ramones, arguably the kings of their genre, is simply the beginning of a larger research project that aims to include all bands from that period, as well as the music and artists inspired by the punk movement.

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