Some of my poet/writer friends already posted about this on their blogs, but World Literature Today just published a working-class themed issue, edited by my friend Jeanetta Calhoun Mish. In her editorial, Mish gives a nice overview of the contemporary history of working-class writing and the various small journals and presses that support such work. Mish writes, “There are likely hundreds more tiny working-class presses and journals in every corner of the nation. They find their places in a history of working-class disruption of mainstream, middle-class literary production, following a tradition that includes pamphleteering by Diggers, protesting enclosure in seventeenth-century England, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius’s Little Blue Books that sold for ‘as little as five cents’ (Potts) in the 1920s and ’30s and were ‘small enough to fit in a trouser pocket,’ and d. a. levy’s ‘mimeograph revolution’ in the 1960s. Poetry, in the calloused hands of working-class people, is more than just self-expression; it is radical praxis, critical pedagogy, disruptive rhetoric, and a call to solidarity.” Her editorial is a nice map to this kind of writing current being published and the presses and journals that support it.
I am thrilled that Mish picked one of my poems for the issue, which you can read here. The issue also includes work by Jim Daniels, Dorianne Laux, and several Pennsylvania-based poets, including Sandee Gertz Umbach, who completed her MFA with me at Wilkes University a few years ago. To read all of the poems, click here.