Book Review: Poetry FM by Lisa Hollenbach

“…this is a book about how the once-dominant mass medium of radio became an underground medium and complex figure in post-1945 American poetry.”

Lisa Hollenbach, Poetry FM

Title: Poetry FM: American Poetry and Radio Counterculture
Author: Lisa Hollenbach
Genres: Non-fiction, History
Pages: 264 (ebook)
Publish Date: May 12th, 2023

My Rating: ★★★★
Read: 2/17/2023 – 2/18/2023


In the age of the internet (and before that, television), radio was the form of mainstream media. Like our media today, it shaped the way people viewed the world. In this account of the airways post-World War II, we focus on poetry and the dawn of FM.

Focusing mostly on the 1950s-1960s, Lisa Hollenbach lays out a history of radio poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Susan Howe, and several others, their impact on society, and the struggles they such as censorship and politics. Naturally, there’s a focus on the Cold War era as well.

I can’t say I was engaged from start to finish, but I definitely found the book informative. I learned a lot and it’s a section of history I’ve never given much thought to. I was impressed that I did know some of the names mentioned here. Given it’s under 300 pages, it’s not a taxing read yet doesn’t feel like it’s leaving out large sums of information.

Thanks to NetGalley and University of Iowa Press for providing me with a free digital ARC to read and review!

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • It discussed a unique area of history.
  • The information was kept to the point.
  • Well-researched.

What I didn’t like:

  • As I already mentioned, it didn’t consistently hold my attention.


I didn’t realize until after putting this review together that this must be a textbook given the retail price is $90. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell because something happens to the formatting when ARCs are delivered directly to my Kindle. My apologies if this is a strange review for this kind of book. I didn’t put two and two together with the publisher.

Where to buy the book:

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