Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I recently purchased "Transparencies," the newest collection by Robert Edwards. I'm only a few pages into it and I can't breath, my heart is pounding and tears obscure my vision. With every line, Edwards confirms that he is among the best poets that every graced the English language -- lines like:

     I face the prairie -- or some kind of ocean --
     the rind of a question mark uneaten in my hand.

     Snide Madonnas total my mistakes,
     bleed me with thin forgiveness, which is to say:
     a dry inertia is tangled in the grass,
     and I smell a dream of the darker stuff

or from the poem, "Getting Drunk on Gravel Roads," --

     Take this to the bank, so say we all:
     every religion is a lie and every patriot a traitor.
     Trust your mother to hate you for being born
     and resent you for the guilt over the hate.
     Officer friendly is a rapist with a government gun,
     and the rich really think you're nothing
     but a dull horse fit for a plow or a hard saddle.
     Saddle by shadow, breath after breath, we
     feel the old certainties die and the new truths
     we wipe from our lips give answers none of us
     have the courage to want. We live in a country
     that was built yesterday not to outlast tomorrow.

Bob Edwards writes about from deep within where we know more that we want to and still have more questions than answers. He writes of working stiffs with bleak possibilities and those "trying to invent a past that held a future." These are powerfully packed verses filled with militancy devoid of dogma -- a deep understanding of who and where we are; the possibilities, the obstacles and the odds.
If you don't purchase another thing this year, Buy this book! It's only $12.00 and I guarantee you won't regret it.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Winter Issue Editorial

Tough times. It is a strange and difficult time we find ourselves in as we go to press. Jobs are disappearing along with insurance and hard-earned retirements. Homes continue to be foreclosed and cars repossessed. Though the Obama administration has the potential to deal with the crisis resulting from decades of corrupt, corporate rule, they face much resistance even as we continue to slide into a depression of unknown depth.

Much of the writing in this issue speaks from the strange place we find ourselves at this moment where reasons for hope mingle with insecurity and fear. Your editor knows first hand the desperation many of us are experiencing after a year of unsuccessful job hunting. Also in this issue is a letter excerpt from fellow unemployed poet Edward Supranowicz - injured on a part-time gig and without insurance or income. The poem by Chris Butters illuminates the brutal reality and connections of the class war declared on us by big business and its government.

We as a class are not passive players. Our struggle has changed the course of history before, and when pressed we can and must do so again. In the hardest times, our security lies in community. As the myth of the "rugged individual" gives way to the reality of our dependence and vulnerability, we are struggling to rediscover the necessity of community in which our history is rooted. We will need it to get through the tougher times ahead. In some places, "Common Security Clubs" are being formed as a way of taking care of each other. This involves everything from sharing food and space to organizing in the larger struggle to fight for our rights and common interests.
As a small, particularly vulnerable working class press, we too face an uphill battle to continue publishing the best and strongest poets and writers of our class. There has never been a time when Progressive Working Class Literature was as important as it is now. The illusions of the market system are falling away and the working class consciousness with which this literature is imbued is vital to our survival and progress. We are stubborn, but we too must rely on community to cover costs.

This is our annual fund raising issue, and we are asking for the support necessary to keep us going. Like many artistic ventures, the Blue Collar Review has been affected by the decline in arts funding. A grant we depended on has ceased to fund poetry. In the last year it has been your subscriptions and generous donations which allowed us to continue publishing. We know that these are terrible times and that money is tight. We hope your commitment to this literature, our literature, will see us through. Together, we can continue to be heard; to inspire each other and our fellow workers in the struggle, to write, and to know that none of us are alone in this darkening time.

We are truly grateful to all whose poetry and prose have kept alive the powerful medicine of an alternative to the treacherous, alienating mirage of corporate culture; a visionary People's culture rooted in authenticity.