Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Collection by Jason Irwin

A new collection, "Watering the Dead" by Jason Irwin is available from Pavement Saw Press. This strong collection is also the winner of the 2006/2007 Transcontinental Poetry Award.
Jason Irwin's first full length collection includes narrative working class poems. Some of these first appeared in Blue Collar Review, Confrontation, Living Forge, Lumina, Miller’s Pond, Pearl, Plainsongs, Slipstream, The Sycamore Review, and The Same.

The poetry in this collection is rooted unmistakably in the reality of Irwin's experience and shows the sensitivity and insight inherent in great poetry. It is, like the best working class literature, fine art wrought from the nitty-gritty.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Spring Issue Editorial

As seeds sown in early spring bloom into nourishing gardens, your continuing support has allowed the blossoming of a new crop of powerful working class literature.

Spring marks both International Women's Day and Worker's Memorial Day. In our corrupt system of alienation and competitive exploitation, work takes a heavy toll on all of us and the lack of it even more so. As poems by Marge Piercy, our co-editor Mary Franke, and Cherise Wyneken and others reveal, women more often than not, still bear the brunt of this with lower pay, worse jobs, and the added burdens of unappreciated and unpaid domestic labor and sexism.

Working class life both on and off the job takes a toll on our health as well. While writers Andy Vogel and Ryan Black vividly describe the dangers of work, we also see throughout this collection the longer term, more subtle, but no less deadly effects of stress. The poem "Unnatural Causes" was inspired by a documentary of the same name. I would encourage our readers to find this documentary and pass it around. This excellent documentary scientifically affirms what working class activists and writers have been saying for many years -- the physical cost of stress based on powerlessness is a root cause of poor health, disease and early death. It clearly shows that our health ultimately depends on our empowerment not only over our own lives but, by extension, in society at large. In other words -- Power to the People!

Another theme that comes through in this issue, particularly in the poems of Glenn Sheldon, is time and the effects of any one moment on the whole of our lives.
The lasting effect of the moment can be a good thing as well as a haunting nightmare. In the case of the written word, it repeatedly occurs to me that this journal, unlike most others, is an intimate record of our moment in history; a record of the conditions of our lives as working people in the present. This is something that is usually omitted from official history and while we write and publish for the present, it is also a message in a bottle reaching out to those in the future and saying -- this is our reality, these are our varied lives, this is how we lived and how we saw our world. Amazingly, we see and comprehend each others very different working class lives even as we are living them. This is working class consciousness.

We are especially grateful for your collective support that makes publishing this journal a possibility. We welcome your comments and anticipate reading more of your work.