Friday, September 13, 2013

Who Are We Then?

Those who subscribe to the Blue Collar Review are familiar with the strong, well crafted poetry of Ed Werstein. Partisan Press is proud to announce a new collection of his work, entitled Who Are We Then.

Barbara Crooker, author of Radiance, Line Dance, More, and Gold writes about this collection, "Ed Werstein, in his new collection, asks, Who Are We Then? The answer is, it's all of us, people with good intentions, people who work in factories, folks watching the news: women "falling from factory windows in Bangladesh / while you wait in lines at Walmart." This is the world we live in, where "the richest one percent are guaranteed / their forty percent of the pie." Werstein writes poetry as manifesto; these are politically engaged poems that want to change the world. But it's also poetry as prayer: "Let the leftover bread feed the hungry. / / Let all soldiers return to hometowns / unchanged." Werstein says, "Let's write a new curriculum of love and understanding," and I say, "Amen."

An excerpt from the title poem shows the collection title to be a question more relevant than ever; a burning question all Americans need to ask:

sixteen civilians shot dead
in Kandahar
a soldier snaps
and sixteen die
mostly women and children
a soldier snaps
three tours of duty in Iraq
now deployed in Afghanistan
he snaps
sixteen dead.

and Hillary says,
that is not who we are.

well, who are we then?
are we the Marines who
unzipped and pissed
on their victims?

are we the soldiers who
burned the Quran?

are we Navy Seals who
steal across borders,
in midnight invasions,
to assassinate our prey
and anyone else who gets in the way?

are we predator drones
piloted by remote joystick jockeys
raining terror on guilty
and innocent alike

they see their kids each night
and never snap thinking about the ones they've killed.

are we people who fight
terror with terror?

This is the kind of poetry that is worthy of the name. This is the kind of truth telling, socially necessary and class conscious work that needs to be published and we are honored to make that happen. This flat-spined edition is available on our website for only $14.00 which includes postage.

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