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Get Yer Sous les Pavés

By Harriet Staff

Sous les Pavés, a bimonthly newsletter published and edited by poet Micah Robbins, has steadily accumulated much chatter (off- and online) — it’s politically charged, in a rare and rarer format, distributed for free to subscribers, its contents from issue to issue often in dialogue, and featuring not only poetry but correspondence, reviews, photo documentaries, prose, artwork, and “ideation,” as Robbins describes it. He goes on:

It is conceived in the spirit & tradition of THE FLOATING BEAR, FUCK YOU, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, ROLLING STOCK, THE REALIST, THE DIGGER PAPERS, INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTE, THE BLACK PANTHER INTERCOMMUNAL NEWS SERVICE, PROFANE EXISTENCE and any number of lo-fi no-frills PUNK ZINES & COMMUNITY PAPERS. At a time when much discourse circulates amid the instantaneous push-n-pull of the blogosphere — some of which is sharp, but much of which is soggy pulp — we seek to slow down, pause, and cultivate thoughtful responses to our collective troubles before delivering a polemical flux of ideation via the hands & feet of the world’s postal workers. . .in perpetuity. . .

Contents for #4 include the likes of Frances Kruk, John Beer, Linh Dinh, Rodrigo Toscano, Tim Atkins, The Rejection Group, Tyrone Williams, William Fuller, Hoa Nyugen, Jerome Rothenberg, Mary Burger, Sotère Torregian, and Emily Critchley (“The lead-in syllables, collectively, / The full measure Melismatic / Countenance / Of good tasting / Or locate your gills / You will be ever more & so / Where citadels coat wax & / We are burnt licking of that”). Plus messages from Amiri Baraka to Richard Owens challenging a recent piece Owen penned about Ed Dorn. Part of the exchange:

I mean, where do workers—specifically workers in the US—want to go? Can we any longer imagine workers—even given recent protests in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere—as an internally coherent class with will, direction, or desire? I recognize full well that many of the students kicking up a racket today will land up being the mid-level functionaries, managers, executives and academics that workers typically (and often correctly) resent,
but I also wonder to what extent this resentment itself effectively guarantees the enduring status of the working class as an internally fragmented community completely alienated from itself, utterly unable to identify with
even its own most basic interests and wholly incapable of struggling for them. —RICHARD OWENS

Always, the question remains, What Is To Be Done? That is, how to do what obviously presents itself to be done! The workers circulate in their own hopelessness. The students, &c in theirs, (with more presumed ease AND
UNCONSCIOUSNESS). The working class and its allies, is the TARGET. The Work. That’s the Gig! —AMIRI BARAKA

If you aren’t (yet) on the mailing list, why, The Other Room has got a link to a PDF download of issue #4, the most recent. This must be a leak (woah!), since Robbins has all the back issues available on his site, but not quite this newest. Seriously, enjoy, read all, subscribe, or donate. Robbins fears this could be the last issue available gratis, having gone from 300 subscribers at issue #1 to double that (or so we hear) since. He’s got very clear reasoning to throw money if you care to, for it’s “…in order to maintain this particular aspect of our collective struggle to publish and distribute a politically efficacious poetry in a cultural milieu that consistently demonstrates disturbing tendencies toward the apathetic, the self-interested, and the vapid.”


Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 by Harriet Staff.