Tag Archives: Blue Collar Review

Page Against the Machine

PAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: BLUE COLLAR REVIEW

“Rage Against the Machine” was one of the most popular bands of 1990s. Its second album, “Evil Empire,” was emphatically not a reference to the Soviet Union, but a home-grown analysis of the hegemonic ambitions of an upstart former colony embarking on its third century of ever-expanding domination. I never saw them perform, but couldn’t help but be impressed by how many of their songs made the infamous Clear Channel Memorandum.

A few months, as Linda and I were taking a walk around the South Rose Park neighborhood in Long Beach, I noticed a small storefront that had a sign in the front window: “Page Against the Machine.” The echo of the band’s name hinted at the kind of politically engaged writing that is consistently featured in one of my favorite magazines, BLUE COLLAR REVIEW. While you can subscribe to a print copy (and I myself have been a long-time subscriber), you can also find a substantial sample of its unflinching “progressive working class literature” on-line:

http://www.angelfire.com/va/bcr/

In the on-line sample of its most recent issue, you will find the poem, “Another Monday,” by G.C. Compton. Part of the poem speaks to one of the problems I have with Bernie Sanders, not to mention every other candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. In what way does Sanders propose to eliminate the tax on the first $25,000 paid in the course of a year to social security recipients? Take note of the following:

Once more I will pay two grand
in income tax
because in 1982, a sign in the zodiac
told Reagan to tax Social Security.
Seems the Federal Reserve needed the money
more than we who have the need –
and the guts – to work past 66.
G.C. Compton — “Another Monday”

At the age of 74, Compton is still working, in part to earn the money needed to make up for the tax paid on earlier earnings that were already overtaxed. If Sanders is serious about wanting the votes of people over the age of 66, then he better do more than just talk about relief for college students. In his previous campaign, his ideas for assisting the elderly survive corporatized America were nothing short of pathetic.

Blue Collar Review lost one of its most articulate contributors late this past year. Lyle David Daggett (1954-2018) died on Christmas Day, and I regret that my blog did not record his passing. He published over a half-dozen books of poetry and also published a blog that is deserving of your attention.

http://aburningpatience.blogspot.com

Of course, if Yannis Ritsos, Muriel Rukeyser, and John Berger are a little too strong for your tastes, then it’s likely that you want American voters in 2020 to choose between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The DJ will now drop the needle on the final cut of “Beggars Banquet,” which features the line: “a choice of cancer or polio.”

“PAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE” might well become a much needed resource in Long Beach. The store defines itself as a place that provides “Books and Tools for Mass Defaince, Empowerment, and Self-Reliance!” It will have its opening event this coming weekend in the form of an art event and poetry reading.

ON EXHIBIT THROUGH JUNE 16th:
“Poets, Protesters and Panthers: 1960s California Counterculture”

2714 4th Street
Long Beach, CA
@PATMbooks

OPENING RECEPTION
FRIDAY, April 26, 2019
6-10 p.m.

Readings by Fred Voss, and Joan Jobe Smith
Music by Los Mauraders

The Blue Collar Review is a quarterly journal of poetry and prose published by Partisan Press. Our mission is to expand and promote a progressive working class vision of culture that inspires us and that moves us forward as a class. Subscriptions are $20.00 yearly, or $7.00 for a single issue.
Subscribe using the on-line link or send checks to Partisan Press, P.O. 11417 Norfolk, VA 23517.

Note: A little over 12 hours after posting the above entry on my blog, I couldn’t help but notice that a computer based in the Ukraine took a second look at my column:

37.115.211.152 Ukraine April 25, 2019 8:05 pm
www.billmohrpoet.com » /page-against-the-machine/
37.115.211.152 Ukraine April 25, 2019 7:44 pm
www.billmohrpoet.com » /page-against-the-machine/

I’ll leave it up to a curious reader to do any follow-up work.

Blue Collar Review – Vol. 21, Issue 3 — Gil Fagiani (in memoriam)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

I first heard of Blue Collar Review when I was living in Lynbrook, New York, between 2004 and 2006, and using a combination of car, train, and bus to get to teaching jobs in Garden City (Nassau Community College), Queens (St. John’s University), and New Jersey (Rutgers). It was an exhausting two years of apprenticeship as a college teacher, and I had little time to write my own poetry or to keep up with literary magazines that had emerged in the previous decade. One of the few magazines that caught my attention then for its forthright political advocacy was Blue Collar Review, a self-described “Journal of Progressive Working Class Literature.” Al Markowitz and Mary Franke are the primary editors, and they can be reached at Partisan Press, P.O. Box 11417, Norfolk, VA 23517.

The latest issue (Spring, 2018; Vol. 21, Issue 3) arrived in the mail the other day. I don’t always have a chance to read every poem in every issue, but I do try to make time for the editorial essay that opens every issue. Al Markowitz and Mary Franke address the reader in a manner that is far more radical than the analysis proposed by Bernie Sanders, but they do so without being strident. Indeed, while BLUE COLLAR REVIEW has an unabashedly polemical poetics, the poems often surpass the kind of caricatures of workers and bosses that tend to dominate political poetry. In this issue, I particularly appreciated “Ten Dollars and Forty-two Cents” By Matthew J. Spireng; German Piedranhita’s “Haiku” and “Choice?”; John MacLean’s “Gypsum Mill”; “I Want to the People’s Pharmacy” by Mark Franke; “The Great American Novel” By E.P. Fisher; J.C. Alfier’s “Tishomingo Landscape”; Ben Prostine’s “All the Food on the Table”; and “Baling Hay” by John Robinson. I am grateful to the editors for accepting one of my poems, “Life’s Study,” to accompany these poems to their readers.

If you know that any task — paid or unpaid — is not without a political context, subscribe: $20.00 for four issues a year. It’s more than worth it to hear the meaning of labor tested out in the actual practice of the work of words.

Post-Script:
Two-thirds of the way through the issue, a small “In Memoriam” box notes the death of Gil Fagiani, “Worker-Poet * Comrade.” I attach the following links for those who might be curious about his life and poetry. In particular, I would recommend Lynn McGee’s very fine review, in Big City Lit, of Fagiani’s Serfs of Psychiatry.

http://www.bigcitylit.com/fall2012/reviews/reviews.php?page=mcgee

https://brooklynrail.org/2017/12/books/Gil-Fagianis-Logos

https://brooklynrail.org/2017/12/books/Gil-Fagianis-Logos

https://brooklynrail.org/2017/12/books/Gil-Fagianis-Logos

Goodbye to Poet Gil Fagiani

https://www.eco-poetry.org/gil-fagiani.html

Gil Fagiani