By Ruth Skilbeck, editor
12 days to go! There are only twelve days left to be part of this new initiative as a supporter*
Today's featured artist is Ken Wolman, poet, with a PhD in literature, a divorced father, who worked as a technical writer in telecom and financial services companies in New York for years, and before that as an adjunct lecturer.
In his sixties, Ken found himself in the downward spiral of health issues, poverty, and bad company, in a shared flat, with a bed bud infestation- with his beloved cat. He ended up homeless for months. You will be able to read his harrowing essay 'A Brief Guide to Middle Class Homelessness' in the Escape Artists anthology. His story starts:
What Ken Wolman goes on to narrate is a story that will take you into the experiences and make you feel as he did. And make you worry for your own future. It will make you want to try to change the world we are living in so that this cannot happen.
I don’t want to tell this story. I don’t want to roil the waters. I am 71 years old and I would like nothing more than to kick back and make my garden grow as I progress quietly into old age. Read. Write poetry. Listen to music. Play with my cat. I am not interested in capital-C Causes anymore unless I can discern something in them for me. I would like nothing more than to shut my mouth, cover my eyes, and pretend this never happened to me, or that it’s not happened to anyone else I’ve met along the way.
But it has, and it won’t stop happening.
So I can’t do that. Part of me still carries the social and even race memory of my mother’s father, Samuel Staridubsky, a tailor from Odessa, who went to jail in a 1919 New York garment workers’ strike.
Now, homelessness can happen to anyone in a world with no safety nets.
We are delighted to be publishing Ken's essay, which is being published here for the first time.
I first read Ken's works on facebook, and met Ken when we were both in a conversation about adjunct lecturing. He told me he had been homeless and I asked him to tell me more. He sent me this essay.
There are strong comparisons between Ken's writing and George Orwell's classic book Down and Out in London and Paris. Ken's essay is written in an equally direct engaging style, diving into the world of poverty and the 'down and outs', the ever increasing underclass created by our uncaring capitalist society. It is written from the perspective of one who is not swamped by it, yet, who has come from a different background, and is shocked and horrified by what they witness, and has to tell the world, and escape.
Ken Wolman, author and poet
I’m from New York City, studied literature and criticism at Binghamton University (Ph.D., 1976), and worked for several years as a technical writer for both telecom and financial services companies. Since 1990, I’ve been published in a wide variety of print and online venues. I was awarded the 1995 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and a year later studied at the White River Writers Workshop in Batesville, Arkansas. I’ve also worked as an Adjunct Instructor in English at several community colleges in the New Jersey higher education system.
* Funding 'Escape Artists' PostMistress Press Anthology
We need to raise almost $6000 in just over a week- to publish the anthology of brilliant works by well known and new artists. It is ready to publish we just need to raise the funds to cover basic print-on-demand publishing costs.
In return you will be acknowledged as a supporter on the Acknowledgements page, and receive gifts of appreciation, signed and numbered first edition Anthologies, and other books and art works donated to raise funds by the artists in the anthology. There is also a unique chance to secure discounted writing and editing and publishing offers, and a new course on author-publishing.
This anthology project, and founder Ruth Skilbeck's author publishing projects of her books, that she has sold mainly via communication with people on facebook, have attracted and drawn together a strong, supportive- but poor!- creative movement of artists and writers whose works are in the anthology.
It's make or break, will we do it?
It's make or break, will we do it?