[Formerly Steve Roberson -- I have now joined the Mudcat clan.]
Thanks for the feedback,M.Ted and doesterr. I think you are right that Frank Hamilton wouldn't like me considering punk to be a form of folk music, and I'm not really sure that I WOULD consider it folk music. I've always been a bit suspicious of the supposed "purity" of punk -- I believe it was created with some very calculated and specific marketing objectives in mind, and really only masqueraded as a sort of populist uprising through music. But it is an example of the "back to the roots" impulse that occurs in rock and roll from time to time.
In fact, that impulse is by no means exclusive to rock and roll; in classical music it was the basis for a lot of the best music created by the romantic composers (Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Wagner), as well as the "modern" composers such as Stravinsky. I think it's an excellent example of how folk music and folk arts continually to revitalize other forms. Almost invariably, as soon as the other forms stray a certain distance from their folk roots, there is a movement to resurrect, and re-inject, the original forms into their more "evolved" counterparts.
In response to doesterr's comment, I guess I have inadvertently provided "my" definition of folk music: music that can be, and is, generated by individuals and small communities without the benefit of the elaborate infrastructure (technological, pedagogical, or economic) upon which the other musical forms are dependent. This definition could certainly be improved on, but so far it's the closest I've come to articulating a personal definition for the music to which I am drawn.
I'd welcome any additional thoughts; I am enjoying this, and learning from it. Thanks again.