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Karl Wenclas, the main person behind the organization of the Underground Literary Alliance, has started a PEN Protest at

http://www.penpetition.blogspot.com/

This from the petition page:

PEN was created as an organization to protect and defend dissenting, outcast, and marginalized writers. PEN American Center makes this its mission-- except in America itself! In these economic hard times, impoverished writers shut out by the monied academies and conglomerates are in worse shape than since the 1930s. Democratizing PEN's board will aid the hope that as a designated charity, PEN's concerns and financial largesse not go to already successful authors like Philip Roth, but to talented writers facing real hardship.
Sincerely,

I have signed it and I encourage all readers to sign it too. It reads:

WE the undersigned petition PEN American Center in New York to democratize their organization by appointing, as Trustees, not solely writers who are entwined with book companies owned by media monopolies. This includes writers who've dissented against the established U.S. literary mainstream. We ask all writers, from all backgrounds, to sign this Petition, including current PEN members and Trustees, in the interest of realizing the PEN mission, voiced by PEN's Larry Siems, of "bridging intellectual chasms and cultural divides."
******************************************

For more info on PEN (which originally stood for Poets Essayists and Novelists) see the wikipedia page "International PEN

Comments?

Tom Hendricks
(editor of the 16 year old zine Musea)

Tags: PEN, Writers, petition, protest

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What is PEN? I've never heard of it. I've said this before about ULA protests, it would be really helpful if you explain what something is before asking us to petition or boycott it. You have to put the horse before the cart.
Like I said in the post the best background on PEN is on its wikipedia page. That is a good overall coverage of what PEN is. Check it out.
Tom Hendricks said:
Like I said in the post the best background on PEN is on its wikipedia page. That is a good overall coverage of what PEN is. Check it out.

Oh, I saw that. I'm just sayin', if you are gonna put out a press release asking people to sign a petition or boycott something, it's smart to include the info about what you want them to boycott in the press release, rather than tell them to go do their own homework. That's how most people would play it anyway... and this has happened before with ULA protests. You guys need someone a little more savvy on writing effective press releases, it could make a world of difference! I'd volunteer if I wasn't so busy with my own stuff right now.
Dan 10things said:
Tom Hendricks said:
Like I said in the post the best background on PEN is on its wikipedia page. That is a good overall coverage of what PEN is. Check it out.

Oh, I saw that. I'm just sayin', if you are gonna put out a press release asking people to sign a petition or boycott something, it's smart to include the info about what you want them to boycott in the press release, rather than tell them to go do their own homework. That's how most people would play it anyway... and this has happened before with ULA protests. You guys need someone a little more savvy on writing effective press releases, it could make a world of difference! I'd volunteer if I wasn't so busy with my own stuff right now.
Tom Hendricks said:
Dan 10things said:
Tom Hendricks said:
Like I said in the post the best background on PEN is on its wikipedia page. That is a good overall coverage of what PEN is. Check it out.

Oh, I saw that. I'm just sayin', if you are gonna put out a press release asking people to sign a petition or boycott something, it's smart to include the info about what you want them to boycott in the press release, rather than tell them to go do their own homework. That's how most people would play it anyway... and this has happened before with ULA protests. You guys need someone a little more savvy on writing effective press releases, it could make a world of difference! I'd volunteer if I wasn't so busy with my own stuff right now.

Dan, Let me clear up some misconceptions. It's not a press release, and its not a ULA protest. It is Karl Wenclas's petition, that I support and others hopefully will too.
I've put several arguments about this at my main blog, www.kingwenclas.blogspot.com, and will be steadily adding more.
My main argument is this: the underground is powerless in this society because we allow ourselves to be powerless. This is a time of nascent change in America. We have the opportunity to change literature-- from the closed aristocracy of recent years, exemplified by the way PEN American Center operates-- to a democratized model. Literature belongs to all of us. The underground has the power to change the culture ANYTIME IT WANTS TO. We have the voices, if we're willing to speak up. A handful of bold writers can send shock waves through the tops-down imperial culture based in New York. I know this, because it's been done.
I don't expect everyone to sign the Petition to PEN. The timid best step back. Hobbyists: I'm not speaking to you. I'm looking for those willing to back the activism of their words.
Past or future? Aristocracy or democracy? Which way are we going? What side of the line are YOU on?
Thanks for your time.
I want to just stress that for underground writers-- I hope some of you consider yourselves writers-- the Petition to PEN is an opportunity.
1.) To get your name out there. I'll be noisemaking this at the center of global publicity: New York .
2.) The idea is also to pressure this corrupt system to give attention to underground stars. Lobbying PEN is one step. Right now many of the best writers in America-- some of whose names are on the Petition-- are DIY. Yet the policy of most reviewers around the country-- hundreds in newspapers and magazines-- is to shut them out. DIY books and zeens-- even professional-looking Print-On-Demand works-- are excluded from access.
Is this not censorship?
Should we not work to change this?
If we don't speak up for ourselves, who else will?
www.penpetition.blogspot.com
King is right. just look at how seldom, if ever a zine is reviewed by any mainstream book reviewer. Writers are writers, and when the best are zinesters, you'd think they would get the most reviews, instead of none at all. The ad driven media are the worst - they push the mainstream publishers books. But even NPR's book coverage doesn't cover zines.

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