Saturday, July 22, 2017


New from Partisan Press

An excerpt from the introduction by Robert Edwards --
Balk is a fierce book written from the front lines of the class war. It is angry and hopeful and defiant by turns. The ghosts of the Wobblies walk through these poems. Every worker who ever had to eat shit just to keep a job they desperately needed, or finally had enough and told a boss to go fuck themselves and walked out the door can relate to these poems.

What will it take to get our
States bankrupted and begging
like the out of work and discarded,
the old and ill tossed
to the angry streets
the moneyed smug feeding
like flies crazed on carrion
      from Tell Me

The poems of Balk are a broken diary of a worker's journey through suffering to solidarity. Balk could be looked on as a kind of long poem--built up out of many separate narratives--about a worker's life, fears, hopes and sometimes despair. In its own way, this is a working class Odyssey. Essentially, Markowitz has mythologized himself and so becomes transformed into Every Worker, and he has done it in such a way that he simultaneously becomes more human, more vulnerable.

The chill nervousness
of the scrutinized,
the sick tightness in the knotted gut
when the manager says,
step into my office.
       from P.I.S.S.

Balk is an act of testifying to one's own personal history of exploitation and a way of saying No! to the grinding machinery of Empire.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Spring Editorial 2017

Our national crisis continues to deepen. The steady barrage of destructive attempts by the ruling corporate cabal to slash medical access to those most vulnerable; to eliminate worker rights, public safety, and environmental protection even while being held back, are taking a toll on us. The rise of blatant reaction, corruption and hate has many of us living in fear, especially undocumented economic refugees, immigrants, and targeted minorities -- Black, Hispanic, Gays and Women.

Anxiety, fear and depression are at record levels in our country. Some of the poems in this collection describe our desperation as well as the crushing reality of working conditions for those fortunate enough to have jobs.

The long festering division of working people along partisan lines has reached proportions not seen since the Civil War. In reality, this is a phony division cultivated to disempower us for the benefit of the ruling corporate oligarchy. We have been alienated from family and friends over splits not just between party identification but within it as both corporate parties struggle with deep divisions. The truth is that both parties serve the same corporate interests at our expense.

With fear and anxiety also come anger, solidarity and resistance. We strengthen each other emotionally and politically when we come together. For many, such political activity is a new and empowering experience. Some of the feedback we get from readers is about feeling comforted by the commonality and the solidarity evident in the work we publish. In showing that our experience and our struggles are shared, working class literature can be a uniting force.

This is a vital role we serve as class-conscious cultural workers. Our role is magnified in these volatile times when people live in fear and are awakened to resistance. As Naomi Kline makes clear in her new book, No Is Not Enough, Trump is attempting to turn our country into his company. Several of the poets in this issue recognize and write about this. Kline points out that Trump "is the logical conclusion to many of the most dangerous trends of the past half century. He is the personification of the merger of humans and corporations -- a one-man megabrand." By clearly revealing the reality of the corporatization of government -- of, by and for, the richest, he helps wake people up to the destructive and oppressive reality of capitalism. We must go beyond resistance and push a progressive, working class agenda forward.

This is what we have always been about. As vital as cultural workers and worker poets are, our effectiveness depends on our outreach. Pass this issue around. Back issues are available as well and are the history we have written together. They can be left where others are likely to find them. This is a collective effort. The fact that you are reading this issue is a testament to the support of our readers -- for which we are more than grateful. But support also happens by increasing the exposure of this vital poetry and the consciousness it embodies. Thanks again to all of you who contributed in our recent fund drive.