Workers of the Word,
Unite and Fight!
Poetry | 2004 | 28 pages | $10.00 | ISBN: 978-0-9743181-5-8 | Saddle-sewn binding
¡Workers of the Word, Unite and Fight! examines current crises in the literary landscape and book culture of the United States. Nowak’s influential essay on not-for-profit literary centers in the era of corporate mergers (“Open Book, Case Closed: The Democratic Paradox of Minnesota’s New Literary Center,” originally published in Chicago Review) is republished here in conjunction with his previously unavailable essay, “Neoliberalism, Collective Action, and the American MFA Industry”—a challenge to public intellectuals, culture workers, and collectives to impede and revise the American MFA industry and its subsidiary industries through cultural adjustments. This new essay also outlines the interventions of the Union of Radical Workers and Writers in its struggle to organize a Borders bookstore in Minneapolis.
"Workers of the Word is an idealistic cultural study that is also deeply needed. In it, Mark Nowak takes on a subject that few writers are directly addressing even though it is one of the major issues of our time: the widening gap between the rich and the poor and its effect on culture and the written word."
— Caroline Wilkinson for Tarpaulin Sky
Mark Nowak is author of Revenants, Shut Up Shut Down (afterword by Amiri Baraka), and co-editor (with Diane Glancy) of Visit Teepee Town: Native Writings after the Detours, all from Coffee House Press. He is the editor of the journal Xcp: Cross Cultural Poetics and founder of the Union of Radical Workers and Writers. His verse play “Capitalization” (about Reagan’s firing of striking PATCO workers) won a development grant from the Stage Left Theatre in Chicago, where it premiered in 2004; another verse play about a Teamster organizer, “Francine Michalek Drives Bread”, premiered at UAW Local 879 in St. Paul, Minnesota, in March 2003. Nowak’s essay on gothic-industrial music and deindustrialization in America’s rust belt is forthcoming in Goth: Undead Subculture (Duke University Press).