Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New From Partisan Press

Partisan Press is proud to publish a powerful collection of Poems by Ben Balthaser. Dedication explores his families history; a history of Jewish Communists, a legacy of organizing and the struggle for dignity, economic justice and human rights. A legacy often overshadowed by Zionism and its right wing drift.

Martín Espada writes, "In an age when politicians and pundits use the word "socialist" to demonize even the most mild-mannered opponents, Benjamin Balthaser's family history in verse, focused on his grandfather, a union organizer and Communist Party activist—reminds us that radicals also built this country, fighting for the very rights we take for granted today. Balthaser paints what I have called elsewhere "the emotional landscape of the dissenter," showing us, as only poetry can, how it felt to rally around the cause of the Spanish Civil War, to be interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, to bury beloved, yet incriminating books on a winter's day. That this complex and misunderstood history also works as poetry—in chiseled diction and lightning flashes of imagery—is a great credit to the poet. Benjamin Balthaser believes in the powerful example of his Jewish, Communist forbears, and rescues their story from oblivion. More poets should have his kind of vision; indeed, more poets should have his kind of dedication."

Dedication is not so much about nostalgia or preserving a vital historic legacy of Jewish left activism as it is of honoring its history and its continuity. Many of the strongest voices on the left and within the worker's movement remain those of Jews.
At only $14.00 (shipping included) this vital collection will enrich the reader and hopefully, nourish and strengthen our commitment to the struggle for a better world.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Working People's Contest Winners

At long last and after much deliberation we have chosen the winner of the Working People's Poetry Contest. It wasn't easy and we had two runners up, both which could have just as well been the winner. These are dynamic poems and all are good examples of progressive working class poetry.

The winner is Gregg Shotwell for his poem "I Am the Rouge." Very close runners up are Ed Werstein for his poem "Teaching Women How to Fly" and Margaret Sherman for "Let the Toilers Assemble" -- a painfully timely poem. All of these are posted online for a year and will appear in the next issue of the Blue Collar review.

The winner receives the grand prize on $100.00. He and the runners up also win a year's subscription to the Blue Collar Review. Several other poems that were not winners were very good and will be published in future issues of the journal as well.

We are thankful to all who participated by entering poems in our contest and hope to see more entries in the coming year.