Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Autumn Issue Commentary

Community. It is essential. It is the basis of society upon which we most rely to survive hard times. As the days grow shorter, as light gives way to darkness and the impending harshness of winter, autumn is a season that naturally brings us together. The working class consciousness which permeates the work in this collection is the basis for the community upon which the future of civilization depends.

In this issue we have poems and stories of alienation, indignation and resistance to workplace degradation; of love, desperation, hardship, hypocrisy and war.
Much of the focus of this journal is on themes of work and our lives as working people. Rarely, though, do we publish much on the work of writing. In these pages we have poems about poetry and the difficulty of being a working class poet. We aren't well represented on the rosters of big contest winners nor are our strongest poets commonly sought out by the major publishing houses. Poetry with political content is suppressed by universities. The gate keepers of culture do not allow anything that makes people think outside the officially sanctioned box.

This brings us back to community. This issue marks fourteen years of publishing one of very few journals dedicated to progressive working class poetry and prose. Because of that, many otherwise neglected and isolated worker poets have found a home in our pages. Though there are always new contributors and readers, more than a few of us have known each other directly or indirectly for decades. The tradition of working class writing lives on here and includes poets associated with previous eras like the Coastliners and the New Masses. Some of you knew Tom McGrath, Meridel LeSueur, Tillie Olsen and others whose words continue to inspire. Others of us write from other sources and all of us write from our own experiences. This is a living literature and we are proud to do our part, with your contributions, to nourish it.