Commune Editons and AK Press are teaming up to bring riotous verse to the world. As the purveyors of poetry and other antagonisms, Commune Editions will supply the burning words. AK Press will help fan the flames far and wide.
Their first release, Red Epic, invents a volatile poetry for a world on fire, written to illuminate the wreckage of the most recent gilded age. Leaping levels from global systems to street fights and back again, accompanied by a Top 40 soundtrack full of Robyn and M.I.A., it remixes utopian hope and revolutionary antagonism.
“A sincere trickster, Clover writes poems with quick bursts of beautiful images and prose- poems that mix different conversational voices—combining romance, politics, literary theory, and humor.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Clover consciously dedicates himself and his poems to the present’s global wave of struggles.” —Lana Turner
“My Life in the New Millennium”
It was true that the more I hated people the more I loved cats.
Then people started to surprise me.
Often this involved fire or coca-cola
bottles with petrol which amounts to the same thing.
Once fire is the form of the spectacle the problem
becomes how to set fire to fire.
Some friends were prepared to help with this which
Michael Jackson having died and then Whitney Houston
was the new pop music. Without an understanding
of the world system and the underlying truth of land
as the place of politics and the sea as the space of commerce
it is hard to integrate that other
most important fact of our era. Pirates. My friends
and pirates and cats — it comes down
to comrades known and elsewhere.
Lauded by sources from Judith Butler to Entertainment Weekly, Joshua Clover’s poetry had received multiple honors including the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and a Village Voice book of the year. His poems have been translated into eight languages and appear in many anthologies including the prestigious Norton Introduction to Literature. He has also translated French poetry extensively, and publishes books of political and cultural theory. Born in Oakland and still a Bay Area resident, he has written art criticism and political journalism for a variety of national publications. He is a Professor of Literature at the University of California Davis.
Commune Editions began with Bay Area friendships formed in struggle. The people committed to poetry and the people committed to militant political antagonism came to be more and more entangled, turned out to be the same people. This felt transformative to us, strange and beautiful. A provisionally new strain of poetry has begun to emerge from this entanglement with communist and anarchist organizing, theorizing, and struggle.This work inspires us. Because there was no existing venue attuned to these changes, we decided to start one. We hope to publish poetry for reading and writing explicitly against the given world, always aware that it begins inside that world—and to put this work in dialogue with poetries from other countries and from other historical moments, times and places where the politicization of poetry and the participation of poets in uprisings large and small was and remains a convention. Poems are no replacement for concrete forms of political action. But poetry can be a companion to these activities, as the “Riot Dog” of Athens was a companion in streets. A dog, too, might start barking when the cops are about to kick down your door. Perhaps that’s it, for now, what we’re doing, what is to be done, with poetry. Some barking. Some letting you know that the cops are at the door. They’ve been there for a while.