*Canceled* Be the Change Community Action: Social Poetics

*This event has been canceled due to public health concerns; we hope to reschedule it later this spring. Please check back for updates!*

Porter Square Books presents Mark Nowak, author of Social Poetics, in conversation with Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director of the Brazilian Worker Center moderated by Lillian-Yvonne Beltran.


A people’s history of the poetry workshop from a poet and labor activist heralded by Adrienne Rich for “regenerating the rich tradition of working-class literature.”

Social Poetics documents the imaginative militancy and emergent solidarities of a new, insurgent working class poetry community rising up across the globe. Part autobiography, part literary criticism, part Marxist theory, Social Poetics presents a people’s history of the poetry workshop from the founding director of the Worker Writers School. Nowak illustrates not just what poetry means, but what it does to and for people outside traditional literary spaces, from taxi drivers to street vendors, and other workers of the world.

Mark Nowak is the author of Coal Mountain Elementary, Shut Up Shut Down, and Revenants. He is the recipient of the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism and fellowships from the Lannan and Guggenheim foundations. Nowak has led poetry workshops for workers and trade unions in the US, South Africa, the UK, Panama, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. He is currently a professor of English at Manhattanville College and the founding director of the Worker Writers School.

Natalia Tracy writes and teaches about race, power, and immigration in the United States in courses in Sociology, Labor Studies, and Human Services at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has also been Executive Director of Boston’s Brazilian Worker Center since 2010, where she has worked on educating members of the immigrant community on the racial divides that immigrants carry with them from Latin America to Boston. She is a co-founder of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers, and helped lead the campaign to pass the state’s 2014 Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, and in 2015 won rights for domestic workers in the state of Connecticut. She is the co-author of Invisible No More: Organizing Domestic Workers in Massachusetts and Beyond (2014), and other publications on immigration issues.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, where she teaches in the UMass Boston MFA in Creative Writing Program. She has previously taught at St. Lawrence University, Ithaca College, and Williams College. She was recently named the new director of the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival.  She is the author of the poetry collections Personal Science; a slice from the cake made of air; and But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise, chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award. Bertram’s other publications include the chapbook cutthroat glamours, winner of the Phantom Books chapbook award; the artist book Grand Dessei, a mixed media artifact that meditates on the work and writing of the artist Paul Klee and was recently acquired by the Special Collections library at St. Lawrence University; and Tierra Fisurada, a Spanish poetry chapbook published in Argentina. She collaborated with the artist Laylah Ali for the exhibition booklet of her 2017 art show The Acephalous Series. 

From 3-5PM 20% of in store and paid online sales will be donated to the Brazilian Workers Center.

Learn more about Be the Change here.

Event date: 
Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Event address: 
Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140
Social Poetics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895675
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Coffee House Press - March 10th, 2020