Fightin’ Words: 25 Years of Provocative Poetry

and Prose from “The Blue-Collar” PEN

Launch Party and Reception

 Saturday, December 20th,  2:00 PM

 Heyday Books, 1633 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703

 (Berkeley), November18, 2014 — PEN  Oakland and Heyday Books announce the publication of Fightin’ Words: 25 Years of Provocative Poetry and Prose from “The Blue-Collar” PEN, an anthology of poetry, fiction, essays and interviews reflective of a quarter century of activism by the literary group.

The book, edited by Judith Cody, Kim McMillon and Claire Ortalda, includes the work of such well-known authors as Al Young, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Mona Lisa Saloy, reaffirms the importance of diverse cultural voices within America’s literary tradition.

The third of PEN Oakland’s anthologies, this new collection of poetry and prose features 125 works which distill radical politics and the need for social justice into passionate literature. Pieces span the spectrum of human emotion: from rage, as in Floyd Salas’s declamation against torture, to grief in CB Follett’s “Words to the Mother Whose Son Shot My Son,” to joy and contentment in the work of California poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. They range in subject from Kitty Kelley’s exposé of the revenge tactics of George H. W. Bush to Paul Krassner’s account of the night Ken Kesey invited him to a Grateful Dead concert at the pyramids of Giza. Featuring works by luminaries such as Rebecca Solnit and MacArthur Fellow Ishmael Reed as well as lesser-known writers, Fightin’ Words offers readers access to a vibrant American literary tradition well outside mainstream consciousness.

Advance Praise for Fightin’ Words

“A tide of swelling voices that dare to speak up against the con­fines of official narratives and connect with the growing silenced masses.”—Genny Lim, author of Paper Gods and Rebels

“Literary artists who otherwise would be below the radar of exposure have PEN Oakland to thank for relentless cultural activism on our behalf.”—Eugene B. Redmond, founding editor, Drumvoices Revue

“Lyrical insight and the arc of human thought for a new and possible world create this amazing anthology.”—Nina Serrano, host of KPFA’s Open Book: Poet to Poet


Publication Date:        October 6, 2014

ISBN:                          978-0-615-96797-4

Paperback:                   6×9, 200 Pages

Price:                           $18.00

Distributors:                Ingram and Baker & Taylor or direct from Publisher

Publishers:                   Heyday and PEN Oakland Publications