Drawing on extensive research in the Richard Hell Papers, this essay argues that the materials in Hell’s archive force a reconsideration of punk and DIY cultural production as alternative modes of subject formation. Exploring the multiple poetic personae that Richard Meyers developed before turning from poetry to punk and reinventing himself as Richard Hell, the essay shows that although the persona Richard Hell has eclipsed these earlier personae, the punk persona does not offer an escape from normative modes of subject formation. Instead the focus on embodied authenticity in punk curtails Meyers/Hell’s textual experiments with identity.

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