The Velvet Ghetto
Dustin Grinnell

Novella in Verse - Paperback
54 pages
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ISBN: 978-1-938583-56-8

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Much ink has been spilled on the rise in authoritarianism within American institutions, from healthcare to universities, but how often do we talk about this troubling trend in Corporate America? When Dustin Grinnell was a marketing writer for a major hospital in Boston, new managers built a team of authoritarian leaders who demanded obedience and punished dissenters with ridicule or termination.

A work of narrative poetry, The Velvet Ghetto is made up of twenty-five poems that form a larger story in verse. Grinnell began writing these poems in 2020 after witnessing the journalist Bari Weiss’s public resignation from The New York Times. Darkly inspired by her and other independently minded journalists, he was motivated to address the authoritarianism, illiberalism, and censorship in his own workplace.

The poems in The Velvet Ghetto capture the tension and erosion of the self that accompanies working for a corporation that values obedience above all else. Transcending Grinnell’s personal experience, it gives words to the indignities all employees can suffer in large hierarchical bureaucracies ruled by authoritarian leaders.

The Author:
Dustin Grinnell is a writer based in Boston. He’s the author of The Genius Dilemma, The Empathy Academy, and The Healing Book. He holds an MFA in fiction from the Solstice MFA Program at Lasell University. Learn more at his website.