Synopses & Reviews
In the grand, narrative tradition of Gwendolyn Brooks and Edward Sanders, this riveting collection of poetic plays and photo-documentary poems exposes the human cost of corporate greed and gives voice to the growing crisis faced in communities across America.
andldquo;The several long poems that make up this book build into each other with devastating force and understatement, breaking poetic boundaries, regenerating the rich tradition of working-class literature.andrdquo;andmdash;Adrienne Rich
Mark Nowak is the author of the critically acclaimed debut book of poems Revenants, the editor of Xcp: Cross Cultural Poetics and the co-editor of Visit Teepee Town: Native Writings After the Detours. He grew up in Buffalo, New York and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he is active in the labor movement.
As the (historical) segmentation &atomization of the American Working Class continues, a potentially debilitating neutralization of its culture occurs. Its artistic trajectories are not only constantly under siege (erased, minimized, distorted) but also exploitatively appropriated, repackaged, and all-too-often defused of their radical democratic potential. It is in the very midst of this cultural-political crisis that new forms of intelligence, resilience, and social innovation suddenly rebound onto the stage. Mark Nowaks writing is part and parcel of this process. Shut Up Shut Downs carefully textured narratives are not of the recoveryvariety, but rather are born of a bold projectionof a classs needs and desires. Ethnographic insight and methodology is coupled with contemporary techniques of narrative sampling (with all the funkiness that comes with it). The result is a strident constructivist aesthetics that dares to speak to its ownof a democratic vision, while at the same time putting the Ruling Interests on notice. Now, thatsentertainment!Rodrigo Toscano
The hard times faced by the American working class in the nations rust belt inform these poetic oral histories.
Nowak relies on his life as a personwith the sturdy underpinning of classand brings it back, humming. And sleek with seeing and hearing! We get a sharp eye, a literary &philosophical broadening of what used to be labeled working class poetry,deepened with a hard but contemporary lyric and narrative. A much needed paradeAmiri Baraka, from the afterword
In the narrative and investigative tradition of Gwendolyn Brooks, Edward Sanders, and Muriel Rukeyser, this riveting collection of poetic plays and photo-documentary poems exposes the human cost of corporate greed and gives voice to the growing crisis faced in industrial communities across America.
Poetry. In the grand, narrative tradition of Gwendolyn Brooks and Edward Sanders, this riveting collection of poetric plays and photo-ocumetnary poems exposes the human cost of corportate greed and gives voice to the growing crisis face din communities across America. "The several long poems that make up this book build into each other with devastating force and understatement, breaking poetic boundaries, regenerating rich tradition of working-class literature" --Adrienne Rich.
The hard times faced by steelworkers and miners in America's rust belt inform these poetic oral histories.
About the Author
A poet and labor activist heralded by Adrienne Rich for "regenerating the rich tradition of working-class literature,"Mark Nowak's previous collections include Shut Up Shut Down and Revenants. He has led transnational writing workshops through the UAW and through the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa, and is a frequent contributor to the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog.