[sixties-l] the spirit of the sixties

From: George Snedeker (snedeker@concentric.net)
Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 22:26:40 EST

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    Back in the 1960s, there were many small, privately published poetry
    magazines. Most of these have since disappeared. Book stores in major cities
    use to carry these. The genre of the radical literary magazine has virtually

    And Then is a radical literary magazine, which has been edited for the last
    fourteen years by Robert Roth and Arnold Sachar. The publication of And Then
    is a labor of love for Roth, Sachar and several close friends. Shelley Haven
    does the artistic design of the magazine, and Marguerite Bunyan does the
    type setting.

     The most recent issue of And Then contains several different kinds of
    texts. There are poems, drawings and short prose narratives, as well as a
    letter written by a political prisoner and a reflection on Ellen Willis's
    Don't think, Smile: Notes on a Decade of Denial. The topics covered in this
    issue include class, race, gender and sexual orientation as well as some
    very interesting pieces on family violence, education and the role of
    historical memory. "Politics" is defined in a very broad way by the editors
    and contributors. They try to express the relationship between the personal
    and the political in the context of the objective character of capitalism.
    The poems and stories articulate the experiences of everyday life as
    these are transformed by the act of story telling.

    One of my favorite pieces is a poem by Howard Pflanzer called "The Adjunct."
    Here are two stances of the poem:

    "Why are we
    in this rich country
    The envy of the world
    The students
    The teacher
    The growth of knowledge
    Stunted by a poisoned soil?

    The colleges are to be cleansed
    Of what
    Of those who are different
    Darked skinned
    The privilege to keep
    Their power and position
    They fear the dark invading hordes
    Swarming from unknown neighborhoods
    Will overrun them
    Like a plague of rats.

    The poem goes on to discuss both the plight of the adjunct, a kind of
    underpayed nomad, and the attitude of the ruling class toward our working
    class students in all their diversity. Perhaps I have a particular fondness
    for this poem because I worked for twenty years as an adjunct teaching the
    kind of students Pflanzer describes before finally getting a full-time
    position teaching the same students. He ends the poem by saying that he
    loves the students. I know that this may sound a little sentimental, but it
    is not.

     As I read the poems and other pieces in And Then, I was reminded of the
    relationship between the metaphorical and referential functions of language.
    One can only represent the world by participating in a discourse. Poems and
    prose narratives tell stories while they connect with other poems and
    experiences, passed and present. There is certainly something beyond the
    text, but we can only name this reality through discourse. The discourse of
    And Then is a discourse of desire, hope, pain and faith in the human project
    of liberation.humor and irony are central to this project.

     I view And Then as part of a project of struggle, critique and reflection.
    It operates in the space of the political; it addresses the human condition
    under capitalism, and tries to give voice to our highest aspirations and
    desires for a truly human world.

     Copies of And Then can be obtained for $5 from Robert Roth at 210 West 10th
    Street, Apt. 3-D, New York, NY 10014(Checks should be made out to Robert

    George Snedeker
    Sociology Department
    SUNY/College at Old Westbury

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