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Another miner dies in Raleigh County, West Virginia April 24, 2010: At approximately 11:30pm Thursday evening, another coal miner was killed in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Still unnamed, still anonymous in the news reports, the miner was crushed to death, pinned against the coal mine wall by a continuous mining machine. This death, in the same county as the Montcoal disaster that killed 29 miners in Raleigh [...] by

Documentary Poetics April 17, 2010: Yesterday afternoon, Juliana Spahr and I spoke at a graduate student symposium on “Documentary Poetry and the Long Poem” at the University of Utah. The students, primarily from Paisley Rekdal’s class on the subject, presented their own dynamic “documentary” projects on topics ranging from labor and LGBT politics to Appalachia and [...] by

25 miners killed in West Virginia coal mine blast April 6, 2010: For the past several years – since the Sago mine disaster on January 2, 2006, to be precise – I have been closely tracking the global mining industries and their horrific record on worker safety. About this time last year, when my book Coal Mountain Elementary was published, I began a blog that updates disasters such as the one that devastated [...] by

Lumière, Redux (Redux) April 4, 2010: In response to Nick Twemlow’s recent post on the Lumière and Company project and his comments on “constraint-based methods” of composition, I wanted to pose a foil -- or perhaps alternative -- to his conceptual poetry analogy. While projects based on constraint-based methods are certainly in vogue – from the Whitney to later this week at [...] by

Happy New Year? January 5, 2009: Thanks to some offline encouragement, I’ve decided to start re-posting my column here at Harriet once a month or so. In my time away, I’ve been penning reviews of new working-class poetry volumes (an extremely critical one of the highly problematic The Way We Work: Contemporary Writings from the American Work Place, edited by Peter Scheckner [...] by

Labor Day Adieu August 31, 2008: Several years ago in my essay for a special symposium on Adrienne Rich published in the Virginia Quarterly Review (82:2), I outlined a series of industrial accidents and union/social movement engagements with capital that had all occurred during the week the essay was written: 42 workers trapped in a flooded Chinese coal mine… 600,000 Korean [...] by

“The Republicans are coming! The Republicans are coming!” August 29, 2008: 2.86 miles. According to Mapquest.com, that’s the distance from my front door to the barricades outside the entrance to the Republican National Convention, which opens on Monday at the Xcel Energy Center here in Saint Paul, Minnesota. On Labor Day no less. Four years ago, when we as a nation supposedly democratically decided that four more years [...] by

Fences, Workers’ Theatre, & the CPT(s) August 20, 2008: One of the unadulterated joys of living in the Twin Cities is the presence of the Penumbra Theater just a few blocks down the road from my house. Founded in 1976 by director Lou Bellamy, Penumbra has embarked on a five year project to stage each play in August Wilson’s 20th century magnum opus—which is, as many of you may know, a bringing [...] by

Summer Shorts August 16, 2008: As I bask in the humid afternoons of August sipping a mint julep on the shore of Lake Wobegone (ok, I’m actually utterly landlocked in my office, wearing a COSATU t-shirt, sans beverage, but who’s counting), I wanted to celebrate the season of pants at or above the knees (the ones we wear over our briefs… well, most of us) with a few [...] by

Prairie Style: An interview with C.S. Giscombe August 12, 2008: Mark: There’s a wonderful anecdote early in June Jordan’s Soldier: A Poet’s Childhood about waiting as a young child for the arrival of a train, that “moaning in the dark,” that “transitory signal from a hidden fire” that “eased its promise into the night.” I seem to be reminded of this Jordan passage every time I read your [...] by