Department of English

Mark Nowak

September 15, 2009

Rose O'Neill Literary House, 4:30 p.m.

Reading from his work

Reception to follow

Mark Nowak, the new Director of the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College, is a documentary poet, social critic, and labor activist, whose writings include Shut Up Shut Down (afterword by Amiri Baraka), a New York Times "Editor's Choice," and the recently published book on coal mining disasters in the US and China, Coal Mountain Elementary (2009), that Howard Zinn has called "a stunning educational tool."

Nowak's unique work in bringing innovative aesthetics and workingclass communities into dialogue has resulted in a dynamic array of projects and publications. His poetry, similarly, has engaged central issues of work, family, and community. His verse play on Reagan's firing of striking PATCO air traffic controllers, "Capitalization," has been staged at both major theaters (Stage Left in Chicago, the Cleveland Public Theatre) and at rallies for striking Northwest Airlines mechanics. He is one of a dozen poets to have been included in the seminal anthology American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan University Press). His ethnographic essay on gothic-industrial music in rust belt America was recently published in Goth: Undead Subculture (Duke University Press).

Sponsored by: The Rose O'Neill Literary House and the Sophie Kerr Committee