I was going to write a post this month on Alfred Temba Qabula, the great South African worker-poet whose Collected Writings I’ve been trying to get published here in the States for several years;

I was going to tell people to read the Poetic Labor Project blog;

I was going to say more on Tillie Olsen's "I Want You Women Up North To Know" and how much I disliked, no, hated the new biography;

I was going to say something more about U Sam Oeur’s “Working at the Douglass Corporation” and teaching it with Walt Whitman earlier this month and what they both say, together, about working in America;

I was going to say “spend some time this May Day at one of the finest global working class news aggregators out there, Labourstart”;

I was going to write something about how little we’ve heard about young writers and youth poetry this month and then go on to say that this, really, is the new working class poetry, and that you have to absolutely have to go out and see Louder than a Bomb (and I was going to write something, too, about hosting Kevin Coval and his performance at Busboys & Poets with the DC Youth Slam Team -- and thanks to Sarah Browning and the good folks at Split This Rock, and get your proposals in people because I want to see you there!);

I was going to write something about the Poets Strike again (version 3.0?) and the email I got from Jennifer Karmin and her thoughts on Eileen’s piece and mine;

I was going to talk about the unemployment rate (9.2%) and the conversations I’ve been having with people with low paying service jobs who really, really want to organize their workplaces;

I was going to write something about how I haven’t heard from anyone yet about the May 9 meet-up at Barnes & Noble in Union Square and how I’m serious, really, writing people, let’s meet and see if we can’t reproduce what we did at the Borders store in Minneapolis and organize, as poets and workers working together, a union drive;

I was going to write about the new working [class] reading series, May 6 in Cali-;

I was going to write about the Chicago Poetry for Labor event curated by John Keene;

And I wanted to write, in all seriousness, why does poetry get a month and workers get only one day?

Happy May Day!

Originally Published: May 1st, 2011

Mark Nowak is the author of Revenants, Shut Up Shut Down (afterword by Amiri Baraka), and Coal Mountain Elementary (2009), all from Coffee House Press. His writings on new labor poetics have recently appeared in The Progressive, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan...