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Synopsis: There is no doubt then that all of the contributors [to Paper Graders] demonstrate considerable courage in having their work included in an anthology that will be offensive to college and university chancellors, presidents, provosts, deans, directors, and chairs who prefer the truth be managed, manipulated, or simply mauled into silence.   The unadulterated, unabridged, and uncensored truth in essays by Cayle, Christina McVay, Ben Satterfield, and David Starkey; the fiction of Jean Anderson, Richard Hill, A. L. Reilly, and Mary Rohrer-Dann; the poetry of Kat Snider Blackbird, Mark Hillringhouse, Charles Hood, Maria Theresa Maggi, Naomi Rachel, Carolyn Foster Segal, Julia Stein, and Judy Wells all confirm what the Michigan Quarterly Review editor wrote to me on   January 3, 1993, in his rejection note for "The Only Good Writer is a Dead Writer."  "I receive enough essays of this kind," Laurence Goldstein wrote,  "to persuade me that something is rotten in the state of academia, not just Oregon State."

From the Author: The first three essays  in the anthology serve  as a general introduction to the causes and consequences of those second-class working conditions.  David Ehrenfeld offers one of the best short overviews I've read on why an academic underclass was created and is growing in number. M. Elizabeth Wallace offers a detailed analysis of life in the underclass in Oregon public higher education, an essay followed by "Paper Graders," or life in the underclass at the University of Oregon, a typical tax-supported state higher education institution.

After the introduction, the anthology moves your attention to the voices of people who survive in the underclass day to day, term to term,  semester to semester. These are the voices of poets and writers who know well the fear, anger, and absurdity of teaching "in a supposedly democratic community of scholars."  They know the fear of ending up like Greer for speaking up about their working conditions. They know the anger of being used and abused and having no power to stop it. They know the absurdity of  academic freedom in  a system where they teach what they cannot honestly practice--open inquiry, critical thinking, and the free expression of that thinking.

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Barry Roberts Greer
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