penfest12

"There's so much to say...": Writings from the Domestic Workers United Workshop

        

On Saturday, May 5, I attended a powerful and moving panel by members of the Domestic Workers United, moderated by poet and activist, Mark Nowak.  Titled ‘There’s so much to say…,” the event, at the PEN World Voices Festival 2012, gave voice to and showcased the writings of participants who’d completed a poetry workshop with Nowak, meeting Saturday mornings at the Domestic Workers United office, in downtown Manhattan, over the course of five months.

         Nowak, a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, and the author of Coal Mountain Elementary and Shut Up Shut Down has conducted similar workshops in collaboration with a number of labor unions.  On Saturday, he began the panel by screening a short documentary about a workshop he’d led in South Africa with workers at the Pretoria Ford plant.  The video segment ended with the choral poem, “Oh! What a Life!” written by six of the Ford workers.

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