Sad Men

What Writers Can Learn from the Great Depression

Posts tagged Occupy Wall Street Library

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People’s Libraries

A peek at my upcoming book at The Los Angeles Review of Books:


on the return of the thirties.

In the spring of 1935, the famous novelist Maxwell Bodenheim crashed the New York City welfare office and begged for relief after five years of the Great Depression. His career had stalled, and Bodenheim hadn’t earned a dime since his final novels had flopped. He was working on a manuscript called Clear Deep Fusion, but he would never finish it. His visit to the relief office was his last stand before he was edited out of literary history.

The New York Herald Tribune mocked Bodenheim’s ragged demonstration: “he wore high shoes without laces, his shirt was dirty and the rest of his clothes needed cleaning and pressing. He was unshaven, very pale and his hair was mussed.” He brought along five Writers Union activists and a squad of reporters in an effort to inspire other writers to go public with their struggles to survive. One activist waved a sign that read “starvation standards of Home Relief make real ghost writers.” During the thirties, the rate of newspaper closings rose to 48 percent and magazine advertising plunged 30 percent. Publishers Weekly noted book production had been slashed from nearly 211 million to 154 million books during that period: 57 million books evaporated into thin air.

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(Source: lareviewofbooks)

Filed under Occupy Wall Street library occupywallstreet Maxwell Bodenheim

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Digital People’s Libraries

This week the Occupy Wall Street library encouraged readers to set up People’s Libraries around the country: “if you’d like to open a branch of the People’s Library in your New York neighborhood, find a [Privately Owned Public Space], bring down some books and meet your neighbors. It all starts with a few books in a box.”

Since I spend so much time online, I decided to create a list of books I would share with my digital neighborhood. Follow these links to download free eBook copies. I’m making a list of People’s Libraries online—what digital books will you share? 

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Filed under free ebooks Occupy Wall Street library occupywallstreet

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That’s a 23-second trip through the Occupy Wall Street library in New York City, a bustling collection of writers, readers and activists.

The OWS librarians just reported that a number of extra copies of their homemade Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology have gone missing. Yesterday, I talked about the OWS library and the Great Depression on New Hampshire Public Radio. Follow this link to listen.

Filed under Occupy Wall Street Library occupywallstreet raven poetry circle videos