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Blue Collar Boom reviews

a Review by Bil Brown
November/December 1996

Color man, and you can see the love. You often find yourself competing against larger presses when you try an indi-effort. You feel like you can't compete. There is little you can do but look like the competition. As poets and writers, we sometimes feel like we take a back seat to Penguin, to Barnes & Noble, etc. The most recent effort of local artists & poets to get past this structured miasma of corporate indifference is BLUE COLLAR BOOM.

By design, BLUE COLLAR BOOM, published by bops, crack, boom! press and edited by Jordan Green, has the look and feel of a perfect bound, perfectly delightful mainstream hot-off-the-press copy. Oh, but there's more between these pages than posturing academics. Of the nineteen poets, artists, and writers collected in this effort, 99.9% are hard hitting innovators. Something we don't see very often in bigwig turnabout or University Press politics: the flavor of lives unacknowledged.

The fact that BLUE COLLAR BOOM is indi-press means that the editors are solely responsible for the content. BLUE COLLAR BOOM has a feel of archival lights, true grime out of the back room of some homicidal collector's bedroom, right next to his mother's corpse. Authors like Chris King delve into Carnival morale, an insightful interview with Ron Whitehead is pointed - straight talk about the coal mines and Pentecostals in his past - alarming, direct, and exceeding the real for most of us poets.

BLUE COLLAR BOOM is a colorful example of small press extremes. The high notes are as intense as a Rock-a-billy concert in Hazard County; the lows are grit, pure dirt that only the hardiest revivalist-survivalist will want to scrounge in to find those tasty worms.

Oh, and I can't say enough about the production. Perfect binding with the raw intensity of a chapbook. And, I commend Jordan Green on his choice of photos for the collection. Bill Burke's photography is desire in full overdrive, just see Bill Smith's favorite photo "Kissing Cousins." Real: a masterful look beneath our fingernails. There are too many authors to commend here, too many descriptive ways of getting you to pick up a copy. Everything from Edward Bujan's page performance (will he read this ALOUD?), Jordan's own rock-n-roll-a-thon through verse that really sounds, Collete, and Rani Whitehead's adolescent-post-adolescent growing pains that you can really feel, Tracey Johnstone's maternal way of getting under your skin - as is said colloquially, "it's all good."

I like this mag so much, I'll buy a copy for a friend. As the forward says, "It's got to be a boom! even if wages aren't exactly going through the roof, boom! for the love and possibility of hope, boom! because there's explosive force here."

Yes, Jordan, you've done your job - all of the poets here have done their "honest work." Crack a 12-pack and prop your feet up at the trailer; turn on the's been a long ride, but you've arrived.

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note: Tilt-A-Whirl Press press is done and gone. Details here.
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