An Essential Punk Literature Reading List

It doesn’t take name-dropping Black Flag or writing a scene where a character gets her first mohawk to know that the book you’re reading is influenced in some way or another by the punk scene. Jeff Jackson’s mesmerizing debut, Mira Corpora, which reads like some cross between Bruno Schulz and the backstories of random characters from Penelope Spheeris’ 1984 film Suburbia, is that kind of book. One perfect example comes in the forth chapter, “My Life in the City,” where Jackson’s writes about an undeniably punk experience:

When we reach the deteriorating tenement, we linger on the street until the homeless couple turns the corner, then scurry down the steps to the basement. The kids call this “the squat,” but it’s an actual apartment Lena inherited from some relative or another. She remove the key pinned inside her eloquently distressed wool sweater and unlocks the door.


Of course, the Mekons quote that opens up the first chapter also helps lead us to the conclusion that, at some point in his life, Jackson probably had some connection to punk in some way, and it no doubt makes its way into his eerie first book. But it’s the overarching sensibility that also puts Mira Corpora in a unique group of books that can only be dubbed Punk Lit.