The following reference books contain entries on David Pichaske: Contemporary Authors (vols. 45-48), Michael Gray’s The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (Continuum 2006), Who’s Who in America (2006 and later).


Bones of Bricks and Mortar

Ellis Press, 2017
Price: $20.00 (216 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241


bones cover

In a book which is one third full-color photographs, Pichaske meditates upon the abandoned buildings of Lodz, Poland, and his own backyard in Southwestern Minnesota, telling stories about their origins, speculating on what caused their demise, recording what (if anything) has been done with them.


1.  Bones of Bricks and Mortar    
2.  Advertisements        
3.  Advertisements for the Self    
4.  Manufaktura    
5.  The White Factory        
6.  The Polish Fog, Part Two   
7.  Apartments    
8.  The Walking Dead    
9.  Murals    
10.  The Bone Yards 

Excerpt of Bones of Brick and Mortar


Here I Stand: The Education of David Pichaske 

Ellis Press, 2017
Price: $20.00 (426 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241

stand cover

In Here I Stand, Pichaske explores these diverse selves, as well as life in the 1950s and today.  He also examines life inside the American university, where he has spent half a century.  Despite his significant scholarly accomplishments, academia has been rough on this sixties child, and like many others (Camille Paglia comes to mind), Pichaske critiques the direction higher education has taken in recent decades.  His analysis, sometimes a jeremiad, is as timely as it is interesting.

Children of the sixties who have traveled with Pichaske through confrontations with The System, through country retreats, through children and grandchildren, through global gallivanting of their own may find themselves nodding in silent understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment as they read this book.

Excerpt of Here I Stand

Crying in the Wilderness: Essays Public and Personal

Ellis Press, 2017
Price: $20.00 (417 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241

crying cover

This book’s 28 essays explore four corners of Pichaske’s life.  Section 1 brings to American readers scholarly articles previously published overseas, on diverse writers from T. S. Eliot and Meridel LeSueur to the Beatles, and Dr. Seuss.  The essays of section II, which also reveal a certain scholarly depth, describe life in Illinois and Minnesota, what is today flyover country for most Americans but retains historical and cultural value for many.  Pichaske’s takes on politically correct academic life (section III) promise to be the most controversial of this book’s essays, especially his analysis of the regulations and policies which make one’s private business public business.  (Recent books like Henry Giroux’s Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education [2014] and periodicals like the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic corroborate Pichaske’s critique.)  Crying in the Wilderness closes with entertaining tales of Pichaske’s four years of Senior Fulbright Fellowships in the post-soviet East Bloc, observing the failure of communism, collecting old soviet medals, and exploring flyover country in Poland, Latvia, and Outer Mongolia. 

Excerpt of Crying in the Wilderness



The Pigeons of Buchenau and Other Stories

Ellis Press, 2016
Price: $10.00 (112 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241


“This is a wonderful collection, a smorgasbord of Pichaske stories, reports, and reflections.  From the narrator’s longings in the opening story to satiric wit in ‘The Department Meeting’ to the final pieces rooted in the author’s experiences in Buchenau, Pichaske gives us the fullness of himself—his wit, his dismays, his hopes, and his clear-eyed way of seeing the world for what it really is.  There’s even a delightful talking-dog story that should be read aloud at dinner parties in the company of dog owners and dog lovers everywhere.”
—Jim Heynen

“David Pichaske shows remarkable range in The Pigeons of Buchenau.  From a talking dog to a department meeting at a ‘corn college’ to the Bavarian mountains, he speaks with a truth uncommon today.  While some of these stories are lovingly tender, others will smack you upside your head.  Pichaske has been at the writing game for decades and these stories will not disappoint.  All in all, a great read.”—Adrian C. Louis


PCU: A Faculty and Staff Directory

Ellis Press, 2014
Price: $3.00 (40 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241



Song of the North Country: A Midwest Framework to the Songs of Bob Dylan

Continuum Press, 2010
ISBN: 9781441197665
$25 paperback (384 pages)
Order from Continuum Press, 80 Maiden Lane, Suite 704, New York, NY 10038

In the 1966 Playboy interview, Dylan said, “I’m North Dakota-Minnesota-Midwestern. . . . I speak that way.  I’m from someplace called Iron Range. My brains and feelings have come from there.”  Using Dylan songs, biographies, criticism, Minnesota history, and the work of other Midwest writers, Pichaske burrows below the accretions of New York and California, as well as records and books and the world of postmodern art, to track the continuing presence in Dylan’s work of the Midwest, Minnesota, and the Iron Range.  To a remarkable extent, Dylan’s origins help determine his subjects, his language, his ideas, images, and metaphors.  His roots are reflected in his use of the pastoral tradition, with its suspicion of the city, redemption in Nature, and almost Transcendentalist mysticism; in his politics, and in his role as Bob Dylan the prophet, preaching the American jeremiad to a nation gone wrong.

Song of the North Country is a beautifully written and erudite book that provides endless new insights into the work of one of America’s foremost poets and performers.”

Table of Contents
Introduction: Bob Dylan and the Midwest
1. Dylan's Songs of the North Country
2. "And the Language That He Used"
3. Bob Dylan and the Pastoral Tradition
4. Going Out / Coming Back
5. Bob Dylan's Prairie Populism
6. The Prophet and His Mission
7. "Ain't Talkin'" - A Postscript

Southwest Minnesota: A Place of Many Places (with Joseph Amato)
Crossings Press, 2007
ISBN: 0-9712452-1-5
Price: $20 cloth (148 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241

This coffee table hardback book, a full-color successor to the black-and-white paperback Southwest Minnesota: The Land and the People (Crossings Press 2000), explores the towns and countryside in which the authors have lived and taught for a quarter of a century.  From Amato’s analysis of regional lead cities like Worthington and New Ulm to Pichaske's meditations on smaller towns like Minneota, Slayton, and Hanley Falls, the authors examine the ways this region has reacted to the changes and challenges of the late twentieth century. Along the way, they explore tiny points of interest like baseball diamonds, coffee shops, cemeteries, and small-town ethnic celebrations. Extended essays like “A Meditation on Enclosed Space,” and “Seen and Unseen Faces” offer penetrating reflections on the long arc of history in Southwest Minnesota and on the natural and constructed landscapes.  Pichaske’s photos document a rapidly changing landscape.

Table of Contents
A Place of Many Places
The Thereness of Here
The Line of the Landscape
New Ulm: The Most German Town in America
Swensson Farm
A Blue Collar Planet: Worthington
Minneota, Minnesota
It’s Root, Root, Root for the Home Team
On a Snipe Hunt for Tradition in the World of “Take It Smooth and Easy”
Coffee, Coffee, and More Coffee at Slayton
A Meditation on Enclosed Space
North, to Where the Snake Eats Its Tail;
Six Southwest Minnesota Cemeteries
Hanley Falls: The Rituals of Community
Photo Credits


Rooted: Seven Midwest Writers of Place
University of Iowa Press, 2006
ISBN: 0-87745-987-8
$29.95 paperback (355 pages)
Order from University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

“A necessary, personable, and enjoyable work, restoring the notion of place—and of the Midwest in particular—to its position as a positive, imaginative force in American letters.”—John O’Brien, publisher, Dalkey Archive Press

“The stern climate, the contours of the land, and the practices of midwestern regional culture have profoundly, and consciously, shaped the work of David Pichaske’s seven midwestern writers. In Rooted’s deeply informed commentary, Pichaske illuminates how they owe their best language and thought to these distinctive features of the American heartland—even when they have tried to escape them.”—Edward Griffin, distinguished professor, University of Minnesota

Paying close attention to text, landscape, and biography, Pichaske examines the relationship between place and art. His focus is on seven midwestern authors who came of age toward the close of the twentieth century, their lives and their work grounded in distinct places: Dave Etter in small-town upstate Illinois; Norbert Blei in Door County, Wisconsin; William Kloefkorn in southern Kansas and Nebraska; Bill Holm in Minneota, Minnesota; Linda Hasselstrom in Hermosa, South Dakota; Jim Heynen in Sioux County, Iowa; and Jim Harrison in upper Michigan.

The writers’ intimate knowledge of place is reflected in their use of details of geography, language, environment, and behavior. Yet each writer reaches toward other geographies and into other dimensions of art or thought: jazz music and formalism in the case of Etter; gender issues in the case of Hasselstrom; time past and present in the case of Kloefkorn; ethnicity and the role of the artist in the case of Blei; magical realism in the case of Heynen; the landscape of literature in the case of Holm; and the curious worlds of academia, best-selling novels, and Hollywood films in the case of Harrison. The result, Pichaske notes, is the growing away from roots, the explorations and alter egos of these writers of place, and the tension between the “here” and “there” that gives each writer’s art the complexity it needs to transcend provincial boundaries.

Table of Contents
Midwestern Literature
Dave Etter: Call It Cornbelt Baroque
William Kloefkorn: Looking Back Over the Shoulder of Memory
Norbert Blei: Portrait of the Artist as an Outsider
Linda Hasselstrom: It Is “Like Far”
Bill Holm: Holm and Away
Jim Heynen: Parables of Innocence and Experience
Jim Harrison: Reluctant Postmodernist

The Father Poems
Cross+Roads Press, 2005
ISBN: 1-889460-13-3
$10 paperback (55 pages)
Orders from Cross+Roads Press, P.O. Box 33, Ellison Bay, WI  54210
Father Poems cover

This collection of 27 poems combines new material with poems reprinted from the earlier book Exercises Against Retirement (1995) and the chapbook Visiting the Father and Other Poems (1987).  Being, like the earlier titles, poetry, this collection has remained far under the radar screen of public knowledge, and most of the 300 copies in the limited edition first printing remain unsold. 

A Place Called Home: Writings on the Midwestern Small Town (co-edited with Joseph Amato and Richard Davies)
Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2004
ISBN: 0-87351-451-3
$24.95 paperback (pages)
Order from Minnesota Historical Society Press, 345 Kellogg Blvd. West, St. Paul, MN 55102-1906.

The dynamic Midwestern small town—from its idyllic beginnings to its imminent decline—explored and celebrated in thirty-four selections of cultural history, fiction, and poetry, both classic and contemporary.  Each selection is preceded by an introduction written by one of the editors.  The book includes works literary, sociological, and historical by such writers as Mark Twain, Edward Eggleston, Hamlin Garland, Willa Cather, Langston Hughes, Sherwood Anderson, Edna Ferber, Carol Bly, Garrison Keillor, Norbert Blei, Kent Meyers, Susan Allen Toth.  

A 2004 Minnesota Book Award Winner

Hallelujah Anyway
Ellis Press, 2004
ISBN: 0-944024-51-3
$7 paperback (112 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241

In this small paperback, Pichaske makes the grand tour of summer 2000 small-town festivals across southwestern Minnesota, beginning with Luverne Buffalo Days on June 3 and ending with Minneota Boxelder Bug Days on September 9.  The meditations—clips of overheard speech, poems, or sharply detailed notebook entries—combine with photos to fix small-town Minnesota at the turn of the millennium.  Other towns visited include Windom, Renville, Redwood Falls, Russell, Canby, Montevideo, Granite Falls, Vesta, Bird Island, Dawson, Westbrook, Hendricks, Wilno, Jasper, Walnut Grove, Sacred Heart, Tyler, Madison, Upper Sioux Community, Ghent, Pipestone, Lake Benton, Ivanhoe, Hanley Falls, Bechyn, and Wood Lake.

UBO3: A Season in Outer Mongolia
Ellis Press, 2003
ISSBN: 0-944024-47-5
$10 paperback (150 pages)
Order from Ellis Press: P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241

This book about Outer Mongolia, written and printed in Ulaanbaatar, Outer Mongolia, truly embodies its subject.  Using words and four-color photos, Pichaske describes the Mongolia he experienced on his Fulbright lectureship at National University in 2003, an unromanticized portrait of a remarkable country still on the edge of the known, looking out at the unknown.  Pichaske writes about the trash heap behind his apartment, about the black market, about excursions into the countryside, about opera singers and concerts at UB Palace, about the Gobi desert, about Mongolian reactions to George WMD Bush’s war in Iraq.

Table of Contents
To Norb, Who Asked About Life in the Land of Chinggis Khan
21 Dreams of Outer Mongolia
The Walk to the Embassy
Meanwhile, This Just In
Mongol Nokhoi
Notes Along the Way
The Victims of Political Persecutions Memorial Museum
Getting Out
Places I’ll Remember
Souvenir of Mongolia
Small Casualties of War

“[The book] provides some interesting vignettes about everyday life in a country we know little about and the frustrations American teachers can find for themselves when far away from home. It also contains provocative and sharply reproduced color photographs.”—Library Journal

Southwest Minnesota: The Land and the People
Crossings Press, 2000
ISBN: 0-96141-19-7-X
$15.00 paperback (116 pages)
Order from Ellis Press: P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241

This coffee table book, edited by David Pichaske and Joseph Amato, is a portrait of the region in pictures and the words of Robert Bly, Carol Bly, Phil Dacey, Leo Dangel, Hamlin Garland, Paul Gruchow, Jim Heynen, Bill Holm, Garrison Keillor, Meridel Le Sueur, Frederick Manfred, Joseph Nicollet, Tim O’Brien, Ole Rolvaag, and Barton Sutter, among others.  Southwestern Minnesota emerges as a haunting landscape marked by rich farmlands, forgotten villages, patches of vestigial prairie and slough, surprising rivers and wooded rills . . . and, everywhere in the countryside these days, signs of abandonment and depopulation.  Pichaske’s photos in this book are elegiac, and many of the texts—written by some of the region’s and the nation’s most respected writers—reflect upon an issue best expressed by Frost: “what to make of a diminished thing.”


Poland in Transition 1989-1991
Ellis Press, 1994
ISBN: 0-944024-27-0
$11.95 paperback (246 pages)
Order from Ellis Press: P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241
Poland in Transition cover

In this collection of essays written during and after his Fulbright Fellowship in Poland, Pichaske examines life on the Polish streets during the country’s difficult transition from communism to free market capitalism.  Recounting adventures in the markets, bureaus, hospital, and shops of his own working-class city of Lodz, and in the great old Polish cities of Krakow, Warsaw, Poznan, and Gdansk—as well as auto and train trips to Berlin, Leningrad, and Greece—he introduces artists, businessmen, bureaucrats, foresters, shopkeepers, street workers, students and intellectuals.  This book recreates a place now mostly lost to two decades of dramatic growth and change.

Table of Contents
Urban Landscape with Student Party
Seasons in a Half-Remembered Landscape
Street Markets
The Jewish Cemetery in Lodz
Cityscape: Krakow
Jan Filipski, Painter
The Mills
On the Road Part I: The Night Train to Berlin
The Mazowiecki Fund
The Fog Machine
Cityscape: Gdansk
Auschwitz #821
Klinika M. Kopernika, Lodz
On the Road Part II: A Tale of Two Crossings
The Lodz Cathedral
Cityscape: Warsaw
A Meditation on Work
Agnieszka Salska and Old Solidarity Days
The Mansions
On the Road Part III: Biawowieza
Encounters with the Archbureaucrat, Part Seven
Street Workers
Polish Woodstock
Three Who Made It
Cityscape: Poznan
Car Ownership in Poland, Joys of
Polish Jokes Real Poles Tell
On the Road Part IV: Leningrad and the Final Frontier
A Postscript: January 1993

“Lively and interesting.”—Thomas Swick, author of Unquiet Days

“In these personal essays [Pichaske] chronicles the inflation, political chaos and economic reform as well as the cultural transformations that would result in Stalinist memorials being replaced by ads for Diet Coke and Levi jeans. . . .  His descriptions of Poland are always entertaining, especially in poetic ‘cityscapes’ and his comparisons of U.S. and Polish student life. . . .  With a scholar’s analysis, a traveler’s practicality—as well as 95 worthwhile photographs—Pichaske illuminates many facets of the nation and its inhabitants.”—Publishers Weekly

“An interesting picture of Poland as it enters the 1990s and the world of capitalism.” —Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Late Harvest: Rural American Writing
Paragon House, 1991
ISBN: 1-55778-471-X
$19.95 paperback (452 pages)
Order from Ellis Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241
Harvest cover

This anthology went through 1 printing cloth, 2 printings paperback, and a pirated edition.  It was used widely as a textbook in the States and even in Norway.  Each of its three sections—on the small town, the farm, and the wilderness—is preceded by an introduction, and Eugene McCarthy wrote a brief foreword.  Each section begins with a relatively older piece of work, then moves to writers who came of age in the 1980s, a time when, to quote the jacket cover, “in the midst of contemporary writing in the modes of post-modernism, post-structuralism, and minimalism, a deep continuity of prose, poetry, and fiction flows out of rural America.”  The anthology contains material written by Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, Carol Bly, Carolyn Chute, Annie Dillard, Leo Dangel, William Gass, Jim Heynen, Garrison Keillor, Meridel LeSueur, Bobbie Ann Mason, Wallace Stegner.  It also contains material by writers who would become the subject of more extended scholarly analysis in Rooted: Seven Midwest Writers of Place: Norbert Bly, Dave Etter, Linda Hasselstrom, Bill Holm, Jim Heynen and William Kloefkorn.

“Anthologies built on themes as broad as ‘rural American writing’ are generally more apt to frustrate than to satisfy. . . .  But in Late Harvest, editor David Pichaske has shown rare intelligence in selecting stories, poems, and essays that build on and complement one another.  The result is a unified, but multifaceted, view of American rural life.  From Jean de Crevecoeur’s jubilant praise for the yeoman ethic to Meridel LeSueur’s tale of the dawn of mechanization to Mark Kramer’s modern classic about the ultimate triumph of agribusiness, Late Harvest adopts a critical view of rural ‘progress.’  Still this volume is much more than a tract in favor of organic farming or a nostalgic hymn in praise of the good old days.  It is a window onto the varied experiences of rural life—past and present, good and bad . . . it makes relevant and rewarding reading for city dwellers and rural residents alike.”—Osha Gray Davidson (Booklist) ????

The Poetry of Rock
Ellis Press: 1981
ISBN: 0-933180-17-9
$9.95 paper (173)
Order from Ellis Press: P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241

“Pichaske applies the techniques of literary criticism to rock music lyrics of the 1960s and ealy 1970s.  His analysis examines the broad themes in the lyrics as they relate to political and social events as well as imagery, metaphor and, occasionally, the details of rhyme and meter. . . .The book was actually written about five years ago when Pichaske was teaching a college course covering this material, and, although he admits that it could bear updating, it nevertheless covers a very distinct period of our musical and cultural history.”—Library Journal

Table of Contents
Preface, 1980
I.  The Poetry of Rock
II.  Some Basic History and a Few Middleweights
III.  The Beatles
IV.  The Rolling Stones
V. The Doors
VI.  The Who
VII  The Jefferson Airplane
VIII.  Bob Dylan
IX.  Paul Simon
X.  Phil Ochs

“[T]he approach is unique in the field of rock poetry analysis. . . . Anyone doing research on the meaning and impact of rock music will probably find the book enlightening”—Choice

“The chapters on Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs are especially good.  Occasionally one may question a particular judgment, such as Pichaske’s opinion of David Bowie, or the lack of a chapter on the Beach Boys, but in general this is a fine little book, and a persuasive one.”—Publishers Weekly          

The Jubilee Diary: April 10, 1980-April 19, 1981
Ellis Press, 1982
ISBN 0-933180-42-X
$5.95 paper (224 pages)
Order from Ellis Press: P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241
Jubilee cover

Jubilee College was founded in 1836 by sixty-five-year-old Bishop Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Illinois, who had been evicted from his own college (Kenyon College) by his own faculty.  Its purpose was to train ministers for work in “the West”—namely, America on the western side of the Appalachians.  The college flourished briefly, although it never achieved the grandiose institution depicted on promotional materials, then it failed around the time of the Civil War, reopening after the War in a variety of guises, only to close again.  Largely due to the efforts of the Friends of Jubilee College, it was made a state park which Pichaske frequently visited with his children on overnight camping expeditions.  He also became one of the Friends, helping with the restoration project and the annual Olde English Faire, assembling a small chapbook of poems on the college, researching Chase’s papers in the library of Seabury-Western Theological Institute.  He often retired to the college grounds—a short drive from Peoria—to compose his thoughts after a difficult day of academic politics, which, as someone has said, are so acrimonious because the stakes are so very small.  In the spring of 1980, Pichaske assigned himself the job of visiting the college once a week and putting something on paper—details of a site visit, abstracts from Chase’s paper, meditations on his own life.  Because 1980-81 proved to be a pivotal year in Pichaske’s life, and because Chase was himself a fascinating character (in whom Pichaske obviously reads more than a bit of himself), and because the book comes with maps and photos and even facsimiles of Chase manuscripts, the 52 entries make this little book an interesting exploration of American cultural history.

“I enjoyed [your book] immensely, at the many levels I think you intended.  I value your understanding the courage of pioneers, for insights on the often cruel intersection of man and the land, your reverence for good deeds on the frontier, and for your honesty in acknowledging that all may be forgotten.  There is darkness and there is hope, and unfortunately, maybe, ‘dust in the wind.’  But The Jubilee Diary—and, apparently, your other writings on rural life—gives us the opportunity to appreciate and remember.  Thank you for this fine and meaningful book.”—Don Holton

A Generation in Motion: Popular Music and Culture in the Sixties
Schirmer Books, 1979 (reprinted Ellis Press, 1989)
ISBN 0-02-871860-7 (Ellis Press edition, 0-944024-12-2)
$14.95 cloth (262 pages)
Order from Ellis Press: P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN 56241
Generation cover

Using photos, song lyrics, and other elements of popular culture, this book recreates the heady ’60s in all their kaleidoscopic complexity.  Disdaining the usual parade of presidents, generals, and politicos (who were in fact disdained by those who really made the sixties) this book gathers evidence from the people’s world, especially the music in which the real sixties mythology was created and distributed: the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Mothers of Invention, the Doors, even lesser known singers like Phil Ochs and Leonard Cohen.  From ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ to ‘I Wanna Hold Yoru Hand’ to ‘Satisfaction,’ from the days of hope through the days of confrontation to the days of desperation, this rich and compelling book captures the idealism and pioneer spirit of a whole generation in motion.  This book, which went through one printing cloth and three printings paper, was in many respects the ancestor of the later Song of the North Country.  

Table of Contents
Underground in the Fifties
The Angry No
The Transcendent Yes
Alternative Life Styles
The Tug of Gravity: Co-Option, Absorption, and Shlock Rock
Vitiation from Within: Artiness, Absurdity, and Excess
The Seventies: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

“Pichaske goes beyond the usual litany of stars and hit songs to examine the music in the context of political, social, and cultural events . . . a very readable book which will be useful in larger collections where there is an interest in popular culture.”—Library Journal

“Pichaske’s analysis is thorough and generally thoughtful. . . . His book is pop sociology and history, but for its broad analysis of cultural trends, it is among the best of its kind.”—Publishers Weekly

“David Pichaske has been a favorite academic writer of mine since the publication of his anthology Beowulf to Beatles: Approaches to Poetry, and his article, ‘Freshman Comp.: What Is This Shit?’ . . .  Buy this book.”—Darryl Hattenhauer, Journal of Popular Culture

“Although it is not specifically a Woodstock book, A Generation in Motion says the most, the most intriguingly, about the rise and fall of the Nation . . . the real body of the book is extraordinarily moving. . . . The quotes, Pichaske’s explications, parenthetical remarks and updates crash together in an essay that has more of the ire and motion of the ’60s than either of the Woodstock Histories.  A Generation in Motion is a skillful evocation of a period in which rock music was the primary arty form of a social revolution.”—Eve Zibart, The Washington Post

Beowulf to Beatles and Beyond: The Varieties of Poetry
MacMillan Publishing Company, 1981.
ISBN 0-02-395380-2
(460 pages)
This book is out of print and available only in used copies.
Beowulf cover


Writing Sense: A Handbook of Composition
Free Press, 1975
(330 pages)
This book is out of print and available only in used copies.
Writing cover


Beowulf to Beatles: Approaches to Poetry
Free Press, 1972
(410 pages)
This book is out of print and available only in used copies.
Beowulf cover

“The foundational contribution in the area of classroom texts belongs to David R. Pichaske, whose Beowulf to Beatles: Approaches to Poetry (1972) was the first college textbook to subject rock lyrics to ‘the close examination literary critics lavish on poems.’  Pichaske’s goal was to add rock lyrics to the traditional classroom poetic canon, in the hope that the inclusion of popular song would demonstrate that ‘everything we designate as “poetic” is to be found in rock lyrics”; as an added pedagogical bonus, ‘the college generation is moist obiously “into” rock. . . .’   Pichaske’s books—the two editions of his classroom text Beowulf to Beatles, as well as the companion volume of sorts The Poetry of Rock—represent the most significant gesture in the movement to consider rock songwriting, and the work of Dylan in particular, as a kind of vernacular poetry.”—Kevin Dettmar, Highway 61 Revisited