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
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 growth of knowledge
Stunted by a poisoned soil?
The colleges are to be cleansed
Of those who are different
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
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
SUNY/College at Old Westbury
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