Nick Rombes is an associate professor and chair of the English department at University of Detroit Mercy.
He is also the author of A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982, a book that is far more punk than its academic title lets on.
At a cursory glance, Rombes’s compendium has the form of a dictionary, covering punk bands from the Adolescents to the Zeroes, but scratch the surface and you’ll discover a profoundly weird document, where the notion of “punk” expands to include discussions of Angela Carter, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo and Barry Hannah…
Part guide, part archive (there are many images from the era never before reprinted), part postmodern study, Rombes has created a mashup that “explains the finer points of punk, giving us both critical analysis and creative writing.”
But the story of A Cultural Dictionary of Punk doesn’t stop there. Nick has set up a damn fine blog to promote CDoP, where you can find facts about the book ( “Fact 4. There is an entry on James Callaghan, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, using the phrase ‘punk rock music’ in the House of Commons in May 1978.”), links to reviews and interviews (one in German), an ongoing sticker contest, a companion punk playlist (to make up for the lack of 45s Rombes had hoped to include with the book), and many postings that will leave you wondering just who in the hell Ephraim P. Noble is.
On top of all this Nick also has an ongoing struggle to get the book into the hands of the aforementioned Thomas Pynchon.