In December 2020, we published a special issue of The Journal of Working-Class Studies: the Working-Class Poetry Issue. Featuring poems about factory working conditions, working as a garbage collector, as well as the experiences of Indigenous Australian and queer Arab working-class poets, the issue also offers several book reviews and essays about working-class art, culture, and poetry.
Editors Sarah Attfield (University of Technology Sydney), Liz Guiffre (University of Technology Sydney), and Jen Vernon (Sierra College) write of the issue:
WORKING-CLASS POETRY PLAYS WITH LANGUAGE AND OFTEN UTILISES A WORKING-CLASS VERNACULAR. THERE MIGHT BE SLANG OR CODE-SWITCHING BETWEEN LANGUAGES AND THERE WILL BE THE RHYTHM OF EVERYDAY SPEECH. TO ENHANCE OUR COMMUNICATION, WE MIGHT NEED TO DEVELOP AN UPDATEABLE GLOSSARY OF KEY-TERMS AS MANY USE VERNACULAR EXPRESSIONS TO SAY WHAT THEY MEAN, BEAUTIFULLY. AND THE EVERYDAY OFTEN DOMINATES WORKING-CLASS POETRY. POEMS ABOUT WORK, ABOUT HOME, ABOUT FAMILY REVEAL MUCH ABOUT HOW CLASS WORKS. THESE POEMS DON’T RELY ON ABSTRACT IDEAS – THEY GROUND THEM IN PALPABLE EXPERIENCE AND REVEAL THE CONCRETE, THE SPECIFIC AND THE SMALL DETAILS THAT SPEAK VOLUMES ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE TO REALLY BE WORKING CLASS.