Davis & Elkins College

Mark Nowak and the strategic inexpert stance

Mark Nowak reads at the Split This Rock Poetry Festival in 2010 (photo by Jill Brazel)

Jules Boykoff

Mark Nowak is, as he puts it, a practitioner of “an anticapitalist poetics of/upon American empire” (240). He’s the author of three poetry collections—Revenants (2000), Shut Up Shut Down (2004), and Coal Mountain Elementary (2009)—all from Coffee House Press

Though not formally trained as either a playwright or a labor historian, Nowak has embarked into those specialized terrains as an inquisitive, rigorous poet. To be sure, Mark may well resist this oversimple categorization as a poet—despite holding an MFA and publishing widely in the field of poetry—as it could pigeonhole him in poetry circles whereas he works regularly in labor history circles, speaking widely at labor-history conferences and events.

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