Shut Up Shut Down

Poetry by Mark Nowak

October 1, 2004 • 6 x 9 • 150 pages • 978-1-56689-163-9

The hard times faced by the American working class in the nation’s rust belt inform these poetic oral histories.

In the narrative and investigative tradition of Gwendolyn Brooks, Edward Sanders, and Muriel Rukeyser, this riveting collection of poetic plays and photo-documentary poems exposes the human cost of corporate greed and gives voice to the growing crisis faced in industrial communities across America.

About the Author

Mark Nowak, a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Coal Mountain Elementary (Coffee House Press, 2009) and Shut Up Shut Down (Coffee House Press, 2004), a New York Times Editor’s Choice. A native of Buffalo, he currently directs the Worker Writers School.


“Nowak relies on his life as a person . . . with the sturdy underpinning of class . . . and brings it back, humming. And sleek with seeing and hearing! We get a sharp eye, a literary & philosophical broadening of what used to be labeled “working class poetry,” . . . deepened with a hard but contemporary lyric and narrative. A much needed parade.” —Amiri Baraka, from the Afterword

“The several long poems that make up this book build into each other with devastating force and understatement, breaking poetic boundaries, regenerating the rich tradition of working-class literature.” —Adrienne Rich