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By David Gewanter


Wealth, passing through the hands
of the few, becomes the property
of the many, ensuring the survival
of the fittest in every department.

There are higher uses for surplus wealth
than adding petty sums to the earnings
of the masses . . . frittered away in things
pertaining to the body and not the spirit:

richer food and drink, better clothing,
more extravagant living. Things external
and of the flesh . . . .


1892-1899: Value of Carnegie products: +226%.
                     Percent of revenues paid to workers: - 67%.

1892: men who lifted, hauled, and shoveled.
1899: scooping machines, automatic car dumpers,
           barrows, electric trolleys, overhead cranes—
           Workforce reduction: 25%.

1901: Carnegie Steel sold to JP Morgan; becomes US Steel.
           Andrew Carnegie, “the richest man in the world.”


“This is the hardest of all:
To close the open hand out of love”__

1883-1929: Carnegie libraries funded: 2,509.                                    überman of charity
Carnegie funds given to the poor: 0.                                                     and deprivation

Added: Thursday, May 17, 2018  /  From "Fort Necessity," (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Used with permission.
David Gewanter

David Gewanter's new book, Fort Necessity  (University of Chicago Press), shapes poems from testimony and documents by factory workers, incarcerated people, plutocrats, and anarchists. It dramatizes industrial labor, violence, and the creative body from the Carnegie era to the Koch brothers. He is the author of three previous poetry books from Chicago, most recently, War Bird; and he is co-editor of Robert Lowell: Collected Poems (FSG). Prizes include: Zacharis First book Prize; James Laughlin Prize finalist; Witter Bynner fellowship; Whiting Award; Ambassador Book Award; Hopwood Award. He was recently on the PBS NewsHour, and the Library of Congress’s “Poet and Poem.” A Berkeley grad, he teaches at Georgetown and lives in Washington DC.

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