Friday, December 22, 2006

Autumn Commentary

We begin our 10th year of publishing in a post-election time of hope. A hope balanced by the healthy skepticism borne of experience. As we go to press, we as a society are living on the precipice of disaster -- something we as a class are used to. The dangers of ecological and economic collapse, and the threats to our basic freedoms cannot be ignored. Though this criminal administration has suffered a serious blow, it may prove more dangerous than ever. It is up to us as active citizens to put a stop to the destructive madness of our ruling class.
In the insanity of our corporate culture that surrounds us like an angry sea, the resistance and the human solidarity we feel may sometimes seem like insanity on our part -- especially given the odds, but it is in fact true sanity and our only hope of surviving the maniacally destructive wake of the capitalist juggernaut.
Our working class culture is one of militant empathy and class solidarity tempered by our shared conditions: our struggle to survive the tyranny of the workplace and the terror of economic insecurity. It is a culture of mutual faith that together we can build a better world free from bosses, war, and poverty.
It is the mission of this journal and press to revitalize and promote our true culture as opposed to the cynical, destructive, and anti-human culture invented for the purpose of selling us commodities and propping up the dictatorship of business. We are not alone in this effort. There are some great new collections of poetry being published that we highly recommend. "Crow Call" by Michael Henson, published by West End Press is an especially strong collection of poetry dealing with homelessness, our struggle against the forces of "real estate" and our own fragility. Several of the poems in this collection have appeared in the pages of this journal. Two new exceptional collections by the poet Lyle Daggett have also come to our attention. "What is Buried Here" published by Red Dragonfly Press and "The Idea of Legacy" published by Musical Comedy Editions of Minneapolis. Both of these are great collections, though I believe the latter to be the strongest. The last poem in this issue is from that work and ads for both are published in this issue as well.
We at Partisan Press also have some recently, and not-so-recently published books which are advertised in this issue. While we feel it is vital to our mission of promoting the best poets of our working class -- those ignored and sidelined by mainstream and academic presses, we have observed that after the difficulty, stress and expense of publishing these books, they often languish collecting dust. It seems that, aside from live readings, people tend to buy books from poets they know and miss reading the poets they should know. All the collections I have mentioned, and many I haven't, are vital works that are guaranteed to move, inspire and influence readers. They are also relatively cheap -- less than a meal out and sure to feed the reader for much longer.
We all feel insecure ordering books by writers we are unfamiliar with but we also know that presses like ours, West End, Pigmy Forrest, Red Dragonfly, Curbstone and a few others specialize in the publication of strong progressive work. Anything published by these presses are a safe bet and it is vital for us all, and especially those of us who hope to get published, to support them.
Culture is a powerful force that shapes our attitudes and defines our identity. Progressive working class culture is our collective possession and we are glad to be able to do our part to nurture it. The poets we publish and those who support our efforts should be proud to be a part of it and we are grateful for your continuing support and participation. We look forward to a new year of productive struggle and the inspiration of our creative sanity, together forging a future worthy of life.