Literature Program

Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.


Hallwalls & Talking Leaves...Books presents

Mark Nowak


A poetry reading by the author of Coal Mountain Elementary (Coffee House Press, 2009)

A singular, genre-defying treatise from one of America's most innovative political poets, Coal Mountain Elementary remixes verbatim testimony from the surviving Sago, West Virginia miners and rescue teams, the American Coal Foundation's curriculum for schoolchildren, newspaper accounts of mining disasters in China, and full-color photographs of Chinese miners by renowned photojournalist Ian Teh.

"Coal Mountain Elementary is an imaginative and shocking reminder of what it means, in the most human and poignant terms, to be a miner, whether in this country or in China, or for that matter anywhere in the industrial world. It is also a tribute to miners and working people everywhere. It manages, in photos and in words, to portray an entire culture. And it is a stunning educational tool."—Howard Zinn

"Mark Nowak's vital poetry cleaves to the hard surfaces of working lives. There is an epic quality to the voices that cannot be dismissed by corporations or the state. Coal Mountain Elementary will move readers to indignation and action."—Aihwa Ong

Mark Nowak is the author of Coal Mountain Elementary (Coffee House Press, 2009) and Shut Up Shut Down (Coffee House Press, 2004). For the past several years he has been designing and facilitating "poetry dialogues" with Ford autoworkers in the United States and South Africa (through the UAW and NUMSA), striking clerical workers (through AFSCME 3800), Muslim/Somali nurses and healthcare workers (through Rufaidah), and others. Nowak's writings on new labor poetics have recently appeared in Goth: Undead Subculture (Duke, 2007)-from which he read his essay entitled "To Commit Suicide in Buffalo is Redundant: Music & Death in Zero City, 1982—1984" at Hallwalls on May 17, 2007—American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan, 2007), The Progressive, and elsewhere. A native of Buffalo, he currently works as Director of the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

Some publications related to this event:
March, 2010 - 2010
April and May, 2010 - 2010