Labor Poetic Labor! 2: into the archive

curated by Jill Magi
with Rob Fitterman, Paolo Javier, Maryam Parhizkar, Eléna Rivera and Johannah Rodgers
and an afterword by Stephen Motika

Hover your cursor over the embedded chapbook and press “Click to Read” to view the chapbook full size. It may take several seconds for the chapbook to load. For readers who want to keep a digital copy of this chapbook or who are reading on iPads, feel free to download this PDF.
Labor Poetic Labor! is a set of two chapbooks—one, a sequence of interviews, the other a collection of poems based on the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives—that meditate on the poetry of labor and the labor of poetry, repetitive action and aesthetics, precarity and the economics of higher education, and the importance of considering class alongside race, gender, nationhood.
“A house on the hill, cleaning the house on Nob Hill, in San Francisco, sixteen and filled with rage. Above the fog, there are holes in this place. She minds, minds seeing her mother clean her friend’s mother’s houses. Her mother. She minds, her mother doesn’t mind. It’s a job. She has a job. The daughter climbs the hill to her job.”
Robert Fitterman is the author of 14 books of poetry, including No Wait, Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself, Rob’s Word Shop, Holocaust Museum, now we are friends, Rob the Plagiarist, war, the musical and Notes On Conceptualisms, co-authored with Vanessa Place. His long poem Metropolis has been published in four separate volumes. He teaches writing and poetry at New York University and at the Bard College, Milton Avery School of Graduate Studies.
Paolo Javier is the former Queens Poet Laureate (2010– 2014), and the author of Court of the Dragon, The Feeling Is Actual, 60 lv bo(e)mbs, the time at the end of this writing (Small Press Traffic Book of the Year) and the collaboration with visual artist Ernest Concepcion Goldfish Kisses (Sona Books, 2007). He edits 2nd Ave Poetry, an online journal/micro press.
Jill Magi is an artist, critic and educator who works in text, image and textile. Her books include LABOR, SLOT, Cadastral Map, Torchwood and Threads. Pageviews/Innervisions was recently published by Moving Furniture Press/Rattapallax. From February–April 2015, Magi wrote weekly commentaries for Jacket2 on “A Textile Poetics.” After nearly two decades piecing together part-time teaching gigs, Magi joined the faculty at New York University Abu Dhabi, where she teaches poetry and writing through textiles to students from all over the world, and where she is learning the intricacies of global labor flows, structured inequality and the transnational movement of capital.
Stephen Motika is the author of Western Practice, and the editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman. His poetry chapbooks include In the Madrones (Sona Books, 2011) and Arrival and at Mono (Sona Books, 2007). Motika has held residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace in New York, Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, New York and Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin. He is the publisher of Nightboat Books, artistic director of Poets House in New York, and is on the Stonecoast MFA faculty at the University of Southern Maine.
Maryam Parhizkar writes, researches and works via her musical training. She is completing her MA concentration in American Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center. By day she doubles as an early-music series administrator and co-managing editor of Litmus Press. She is the author of a chapbook, Pull: a ballad (The Operating System, 2014). A chapbook-length essay on Sun Ra, Clarice Lispector, reckoning and resonance is forthcoming from Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs this year.
Eléna Rivera has worked as a banquet waitress, a dishwasher, a bank teller, a receptionist, a salesperson, a seamstress, an artist model, in a library, as an encoder, an actor, a letterpress printer, a science explainer, an editor, a translator, a teacher and a writer. Her most recent publications include: Atmosphered, Overture, On the Nature of Position and Tone and The Perforated Map. She won the 2010 Robert Fagles prize for her translation of Bernard Noël’s The Rest of the Voyage, and is the recipient of a 2010 NEA Fellowship in Translation.
Johannah Rodgers is a writer, visual artist and educator whose work explores representation and communication across media. She is the author of Technology: A Reader for Writers, the digital fiction project entitled DNA and sentences. Her visual works include the Excel Drawing Series, featured in The Drawing Center’s Viewing Program, and The How Much Project, which explores (via digital and analog visualization tools) the intersection of aesthetics, civic literacy and social action in relation to income inequality in the United States. She teaches writing and literature at the New York City College of Technology.



  • ep09lazarcover6nodogear
  • ep10benonicover
  • ep13chapmancover
  • ep14borsukchapcover
  • ep17languellcoverE
  • ep18smithcover
  • ep21harringtonltcover2
  • ep22HIXLTcover4
  • ep25magiLTcover1_revision
  • ep26magiLTcover2
  • ep29_fleischmanLTcover
  • ep30_PinkmountainLTcover
  • ep33_donovanLTcover
  • ep34_perezLTcover
  • ep37hixLTcover
  • ep38rexiliusLTcover
  • ep41beckwithEPcoverfinal72dpi
  • ep42schwartzlt3coverwhite72dpi
  • ep45hixltcoverdecember201572dpi
  • ep46pagelEPcover72dpi
  • ep77Trigiliocover
  • ep80reedercover
  • ep84borsukcover

Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.