Blog

Below you will find original writing from PU, including critical and personal essaysinterviews with various presses, journals, and orgs; regular updates on things going on with Poets Union; and more.

Interview #5: Protean Magazine

The following interview is with Tyler Walicek (Editor in Chief) and Dominick Knowles (Poetry Editor) of Protean magazine, a reader-funded, ad-free, leftist magazine that pays all of its contributors and operates as a self-governing collective. Tyler Walicek is a freelance writer and the editor-in-chief of Protean magazine.  Dominick Knowles is an adjunct professor and the…

Interview #4: Adjunct Press

Our fourth interview is with Adjunct Press, co-edited by Jonny Lohr and Alice Ladrick. Jonny is the author of a well-regarded Robert Langdon fan-fiction novel, as well as an article about Milwaukee communists’ role in the JFK assassination. Alice’s poems have recently appeared in Trilobite. This interview was conducted over email in late summer of…

Interview #3: Radiator Press

Our third interview is with Ryan Eckes of Radiator Press. Ryan is a poet from Philadelphia. His latest books include General Motors (Split Lip Press, 2018), which is about labor and the influence of public and private transportation on city life, and fine nothing (Albion Books, 2019). Recent work can be read in Tripwire, Slow…

Interview #2: Recenter Press

Our second interview is with Terra Oliveira, an organizer with the Philadelphia Liberation Center, an outdoor educator, and the founder of Recenter Press. Their work has been featured in Prolit Magazine, Protean Magazine, Peace, Land, and Bread Magazine, Hooligan Magazine, and others, and they were the Artist-in-Residence at the Schoolhouse at Mutianyu at the Great…

Interview #1: Abolition Apostles

This is the first in the Poets Union interview series. Our aim in this series is to document those working at the intersection of literary culture and leftist politics, especially where this leads to changes in publishing or writing practice; serious critique of literary cultures; and engagement with committed political work outside of purely literary…

A Reassertion of PU’s Boycott of SPD

In response to the release of SPD’s original email to us, we publicly stated that we saw no reason to alter course. This is still the case. While we feel the need to reassert our position in light of SPD’s more recent statement, this will be our last response for the foreseeable future. In Poets Union’s…

Points of Clarification on SPD Boycott

In light of misinformation, questions, and criticism continuing to circulate around Poets Union’s boycott of SPD and its bestselling/prominent publishers, we want to offer the following clarifications. This is not simply to correct perception of PU, but to mitigate harm done to workers and whistleblowers who have placed their trust in PU and whose reputations,…

On Recent Developments Between Poets Union and SPD

TL;DR — On Tuesday, June 8th, Poets Union was informed by email (from an account called “spdworkersorganize,” which we now determine to have been management) that a sizable number of current and former workers oppose our boycott. However, as argued below, we had, and have, no reason to credit this statement or alter course. Among…

Testimony from Current SPD Worker

The following is testimony from a current worker at Small Press Distribution. After our boycott went live, they reached out to Poets Union via email and gave us permission to share this publicly. The worker affirms that all of this is true, and it is being presented here for the public good. Some parts have…

Statement on Small Press Distribution

Since Damaged Book Worker went public in December 2020, describing wage theft and abuse while working at Small Press Distribution, Poets Union has followed the story closely. Many of us have advocated for DBW and other SPD workers online, and the scandal there has further informed our understanding of small press publishing and its systemic…

Introductory Reading List

Below is an introductory list of articles that we at Poets Union have found useful in understanding the economic and political situation of poetry in the US today. The list is chronological based on area of focus, from most recent to oldest. We intend to post a much more detailed list soon, but we want…

On Organization and Strategy

While reflecting on the launch of our union and the many thoughtful replies and critiques offered from those who have joined, a few things have become clearer about our organization, its possibilities, and its strategy moving forward. The original materials on our website – manifesto, FAQ, and two essays – articulated a dynamic project with…

Statement in solidarity with unionizing Amazon workers in Bessemer, AL

Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are on the brink of becoming the first unionized employees at Amazon. As they vote to join RWDSU, Poets Union stands in solidarity with these workers — 85% of whom are Black, and a majority of whom are women — as they assert themselves against one of the most…

Post-Launch Update

3/4/21 Poets Union is closing in on a hundred members! We greatly appreciate the interest so many have shown, and we look forward to building together. We also realize there are many questions, theoretical and strategic, about what we are and what it’s all about. We have an FAQ that tries to address many things,…

Poets Should Be Socialists

A Critique of the Literary-Academic System by R.M. Haines In April of 2020, a few years after earning a PhD in creative writing, I chose to self-publish my first collection of poems as a free PDF. This decision was unremarkable in itself, but after having spent considerable time in the academic realm, I was under…

The Poet As Producer

by Poets Union In his 1934 essay, “The Author as Producer,” Walter Benjamin sought a revolutionary, anti-fascist literature by arguing that writers must begin a material critique of literary production. Acknowledging that bourgeoisie and fascists alike often employed spiritualized, non-material terms when rationalizing their work, he insists that leftist writers must rethink their work as…

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