A people's history of the poetry workshop from a poet and labor activist heralded by Adrienne Rich for "regenerating the rich tradition of working-class literature."
Social Poetics documents the imaginative militancy and emergent solidarities of a new, insurgent working class poetry community rising up across the globe. Part autobiography, part literary criticism, part Marxist theory, Social Poetics presents a people’s history of the poetry workshop from the founding director of the Worker Writers School. Nowak illustrates not just what poetry means, but what it does to and for people outside traditional literary spaces, from taxi drivers to street vendors, and other workers of the world.
Mark Nowak is the author of Coal Mountain Elementary, Shut Up Shut Down, and Revenants.
He is the recipient of the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism
and fellowships from the Lannan and Guggenheim foundations. Nowak has
led poetry workshops for workers and trade unions in the US, South
Africa, the UK, Panama, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. He is currently a
professor of English at Manhattanville College and the founding
director of the Worker Writers School.
“Whether unpacking Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘unity of the emerging idea,’ demonstrating the practical application of alliteration, or recalling his daughter teaching youth prison poets origami, Mark Nowak testifies to the urgency and intimacy of poetry in our prisons, union halls, and workers’ centers. Social Poetics tracks what happens when people gather around poems: conjunctions, dialogues, imaginative militancy, solidarities. This supple, comprehensive book is a study in the poetics of bearing witness, bearing tools, and bearing possibilities.” -Terrance Hayes
Poet and Red Emma’s bookseller Analysis is from Baltimore, MD and an alumnus of American University and Howard University School of Divinity. Drawing on a background in education, ministry, international justice work and organizing, he has featured in venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Besides resourcing people with crucial knowledge in the Bookstore, Analysis is the host of Red Emma’s Mother Earth Poetry Vibe, a member of Simply Poetic Entertainment and the author of Somewhere Through the Haze, a collection of justice/human rights-related poems.