Sunday, March 23, 2008

Winter Issue Commentary

All aboard! Let's take a ride. Fasten yourself to the words and let the images be your guide on this rattle-trap roller-coaster tour of the nitty-gritty underbelly of our decaying empire where we toil our lives away for others just to get by.
This train ride tour of our working class reality travels the travails of workplace tyranny, the terror of economic destitution, the alienation that keeps us enslaved, the inevitable losses, the humor that pulls us through, and the moments of epiphany when we glimpse the solidarity that can free us.

When we began this project, it was to fill a void. There were magazines that existed to preach "the role of the writer in the worker's movement" and journals specializing in diatribes without much literary value. We strive to present great poetry and prose that speak for themselves and for all of us, to demonstrate the possibilities of strong working class literature; to show "how it's done." Our hope continues to be that this journal would be a shining example that would inspire other journals as well as our fellow workers and the poets among us; that it would spark a rebirth of this powerful, reality-based genre setting ablaze the larger culture with our vision.

Admittedly, we may be unrealistically optimistic in our goals as financially challenged workers with a minuscule hands-on press but we have seen an awakening and growth of working class literature over the past decade and our journal has been cited as an influence on more than one occasion. You other publishers, pay attention! Poetry that speaks from the reality of our lives has the power to hold the reader, to inspire beyond words -- to change lives.

Though this journal is our heart and soul, Partisan Press also publishes collections of poetry we feel are vital and need to be seen. Our latest chapbook is "Jesus' War" by John R. Guthrie. This timely and powerful collection is an indictment of the criminality of a cynical misleadership that twists religion to justify mass murder.

Many writers are quick to send poetry and even full manuscripts hoping to be published; to have our words echoing in heads and hearts everywhere, our names whispered in awe. Too few -- a holy few, support the presses that they hope to ride to stardom. For those of you who are able, you have the unending appreciation and gratitude of those of us dedicated and crazy enough to take on the publisher's yoke.

This is our annual fundraising issue. We would like to be able to cover the costs of publishing this journal but your editors are struggling just to make ends meet. We would also like to publish more of your work in collections but that too requires funding. In returning to the railroad metaphor, this is our collective train and we do our best to carry as many as possible including those who can't afford to subscribe. If you want to ride this train to glory, or at least notoriety, and you feel our focus on Progressive Working Class literature is important, then we hope you'll toss what fuel you can in our furnace so we can keep this project on track. Your much appreciated support and the burning embers of your words will keep this train a-going.

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