Energy crackles through PEN Oakland’s new collection of poetry and prose, in which 125 works distill radical politics and the need for social justice into passionate literature. Pieces span the spectrum of human emotion: from rage, as in Floyd Salas’s declamation against torture, to grief in CB Follett’s “Words to the Mother Whose Son Shot My Son,” to joy and contentment in the work of California poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. They range in subject from Kitty Kelley’s exposé of the revenge tactics of George H. W. Bush to Paul Krassner’s account of the night Ken Kesey invited him to a Grateful Dead concert at the pyramids of Giza. Featuring works by luminaries such as Rebecca Solnit and MacArthur Fellow Ishmael Reed as well as writers you will be glad to meet for the first time, Fightin’ Words bears witness to a vibrant American literary tradition well outside mainstream consciousness.
Fightin’ Words: 25 Years of Provocative Poetry and Prose from “The Blue-Collar” PEN
A crucible of California’s most passionate writers
“A tide of swelling voices that dare to speak up against the confines of official narratives and connect with the growing silenced masses.”—Genny Lim, author of Paper Gods and Rebels
“Literary artists who otherwise would be below the radar of exposure have PEN Oakland to thank for relentless cultural activism on our behalf.”—Eugene B. Redmond, founding editor, Drumvoices Revue
“Lyrical insight and the arc of human thought for a new and possible world create this amazing anthology.”—Nina Serrano, host of KPFA’s Open Book: Poet to Poet