The radical edge we adopted-- our uncompromising in-your-face attitude-- is one of a piece with the sense of excitement we've carried as an organization from the beginning. Without that uncontrolled edge, that attitude, that excitement, we're not the ULA, but instead just one more group of lukewarm literary moderates who kind of want to change things but not really. Bourgeois moderates who sit comfortably at a distance with their approved Henry James t-shirts and Hemingway coffee mugs and Melville tote bags and gently "tut tut" at the failures of literary culture and the inequities of literary society, debating the omnipresent dominance of MFA academies while hardly tossing a pebble in the direction of the impregnable monoliths.
"Look," they observe with surprise, spilling lukewarm monopoly coffee over their faces. "A pebble touched a window! Someone stirred from their sleep inside. Such violence!"
In truth, in other words, they don't wish to change anything; they wish only to wear enough of a facade of change to hold themselves in esteem, and absolve themselves-- about the bogged-down condition of literature and its accompanying corruption-- of any blame. Real change means work and noise.
The ULA, in contrast to the mild reformist armchair murmurings of the literary moderates, has put itself at the front of the battle to release literature from the moldy grasp of decayed aristocrats. We say, "Change now! Tomorrow is too late." The Underground Literary Alliance was designed to be a hungry and snapping dog pack containing the most downtrodden of writers, the most aggrieved and demanding, the most untamed. We seek animals who can run hard and are eager for a fight-- we'll take them from all walks of life as long as they're willing to settle their ears back, harden their eyes, ready their hides to accept the slings and arrows of our enemies and prepare to run with us through a literary landscape that's become complacent and tired. As right now I exist close to the bottom of society, I carry the proper state of mind of a starved beat-up one-eyed dog eager for struggle, adventure, and drastic change. We should want to turn the present outdated structure of literature on its head.
The ULA adventure is expressed in the growing size of our pack and the increasing volume of our growling howling noise. The sound we made July 16th at the Medusa in Philadelphia was a promise, a preview, a prelude.