Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams

Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams

Paperback

$22.00

Overview

"M. L. Liebler is the poet laureate of America’s working class. The collection he has assembled rings out with truth, intensity and love. In a world full of despair, it is comforting to have writers so gifted and generous singing our song of rebellion and hope. This book is the kind of spark we need these days—a rich, intense and inspiring collection for and about those who get their hands dirty every single day."—Michael Moore

“This book is not ‘fresh-air.’ It is a mighty wind. . . . While the nightly news continues to ‘do the numbers,’ as if we were all investors, here’s the larger part—the real grit and savor of American life. Spelled out in plain English.”—Peter Coyote

From the White Stripes' "The Big Three Killed My Baby" to Eminem's "Lose Yourself"; from the folk anthems of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie to the poems of Walt Whitman and Amiri Baraka; from the stories of Willa Cather and Bret Lott to the rabble-rousing work of Michael Moore—this transcendent volume touches upon all aspects of working-class life.

A collection about living while barely making one, about layoffs and picket lines, about farmers, butchers, miners, waitresses, assembly-line workers, and the "Groundskeeper Busted Reading in the Custodial Water Closet," this is literature by the people and for the people.

Contributors include:
Amiri Baraka
Bonnie Jo Campbell
Willa Cather
Andrei Codrescu
Dorothy Day
Emily Dickinson
Diane di Prima
Bob Dylan
Eminem
Woody Guthrie
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Lolita Hernandez
Philip Levine
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Bret Lott
Thomas Lux
Thomas Lynch
Michael McClure
Michael Moore
Mark Nowak
Edward Sanders
John Sayles
Quincy Troupe
MIck Vranich
Diane Wakoski
Jack White
Walt Whitman
. . . and many more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781566892483
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Publication date: 10/01/2010
Pages: 470
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

M. L. Liebler is a poet, literary arts activist, and community organizer who has read and performed his work internationally. A teacher at Wayne State University, he is also the founding director of both the National Writer’s Voice Project in Detroit and Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization. He was selected as Best Detroit Poet by the Detroit Free Press and Metro Times, and his many awards include a Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence and the Barnes & Noble Poets & Writers Writers for Writers Award, an honor shared with Maxine Hong Kingston and Junot Díaz.

Table of Contents

I. Labor Poems & Songs

Maggie Anderson………………………………………..Spitting in the Leaves
Closed Mill
Antler……………………………………………………..Factory (excerpt)
Written After Learning Slaves
in Ancient Greece and Rome
Had 115 Holidays a Year
Amiri Baraka……………………………………………..A Poem Some People Will
Have to Understand
Jan Beatty………………………………………………..My Father Teaches Me to Dream
Poetry Workshop at the Homeless Shelter
Mad River
A Waitresses’ Instructions on
Tipping or Get the Cash Up
and Don’t Waste My Time
Daniel Berrigan…………………………………………..Prayer from a Picket Line
Laura Boss………………………………………………..My Son Is Worried About Me
Melba Joyce Boyd……………………………………….. the league of defense
the year of no snow
Michael Casey…………………………………………….The Company Pool
Hayan Charara…………………………………………….Cement
Andrei Codrescu…………………………………………..Working for a Profit
Allison Adele Hedge Coke……………………………….Putting Up Beans
Off Season
Wanda Coleman……………………………………………Drone
Accounts Payable
David Connolly…………………………………………….One Black Mark
Carlos Cortez……………………………………………….Requiem for “Two Dago Reds
Three Spirits
Jayne Cortez………………………………………………..I Got the Blue-Ooze 93
Emily Dickinson……………………………………………Poem # 133 (White Heat)
Carlos Cumpian…………………………………………….We Don’t Wanna Peso Much
Soon It’s Robots
Diane diPrima……………………………………………….Revolutionary Letter #19
Sue Doro……………………………………………………Assembly Room Women
Ours
Sean Thomas Dougherty…………………………………...Tiny Griefs
Bob Dylan…………………………………………………...Last Thoughts on Woody
Guthrie
Union Sundown
Lonesome Ballad of Hattie Carroll
W.D. Ehrhart………………………………………………..Visiting My Parents Grave
The Farmer
Eminem……………………………………………………….Lose Yourself
Anne Feeney…………………………………………Have You Been to Jail for Justice
Cynthia Gallaher……………………………………………..Lucky Man Café
Edward Field………………………………………………….Notes from a Slave Ship

Vievee Francis………………………………………………Harder Options
Found in Juarez
Stewart Francke………………………………………………The Auto Trade
Maria Mazziotti Gillan…………………………………… Daddy, We Called You
After School on Ordinary Days
The Herald News Calls Paterson a “Gritty City”
Growing Up Italian
Biancheria and My Mother

Woody Guthrie………………………………………………..1913 Massacre

Frances E.W. Harper…………………………………………..Bury Me in a Free Land
Edward Hirsch…………………………………………………The Sweatshop Poem
Second Story Warehouse
Mikhail Horowitz………………………………………………The Last Wobbly
Jobs
Murray Jackson…………………………………………………For Phil Levine
Gifts
X.J. Kennedy…………………………………………………….Talking Dust Bowl
Aneb Kogostile……………………………………………… …..A New Afrikan Reggae

Al Kooper………………………………………………………..Comin’ Back in a Cadillac
Dorianne Laux……………………………………………………The Shipfitter’s Wife
Li-Young Lee…………………………………………………….The Cleaving
Philip Levine…………………………………………………….. The Death of Mayokovsky,
Library Days
Of Love & Disasters
Arrival & Departure
M.L. Liebler…………………………………………………….On the Scrap
Making It Right
Shirley Geok-lin Lim…………………………………………….Riding into California
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow…………………………………..The Builders
Thomas Lux………………………………………………………The Deadhouse at the
Workhouse
What I See When I Drive To Work
Michael McClure…………………………………………………Beginning with a Line
by diPrima
Ray McNiece……………………………………………………..Grandfather’s Breath
Tony Medina……………………………………………………..Lazy Russ
D. H. Melhem……………………………………………………Grandfather: Frailty Is
Not Your Story
Gary Metras……………………………………………………..Anonymous Donation
Joseph Millar…………………………………………………….Telephone Repairman
Ed’s Auto Repair
Mark Nowak……………………………………………………from $00/Line/Steel/Train
Matthew Olzmann……………………………………………….Cameron
Richard Peabody………………………………………………….The Forgivness Device
Carolina Summer
Molly Peacock……………………………………………………The Nice Party
Jeff Poniewaz……………………………………………………..Factory Horn Exodus
Well Paid Slaves
Minnie Bruce Pratt…………………………………………………Day Off
Dudley Randall…………………………………………………...Ancestors
George
Old Witherington
Kevin Rashid…………………………………………………….. Groundskeeper Busted
Reading in the
Custodial Water Closet
John R. Reed……………………………………………………..Tools
Judith Roche………………………………………………………What We Do to Live
Summer
Trinidad Sanchez, Jr………………………………………………Work Work Work
Edward Sanders………………………………………………….America: A History (excerpts)
Herbert Scott (?)………………………………………………….Bag Boy
Vivian Shipley……………………………………………………The Hard Way Was the Only Way You Knew

Betsy Sholl………………………………………………………Pink Slip
Marc Kelly Smith……………………………………………….Underdog
Pull the Next One Up
Lamont B. Steptoe……………………………………………….Day Worker
Seamstress
Quincy Troupe…………………………………………Poem for My Brother Timmy
Chris Tysh……………………… This Is Not My Beautiful House: Five Uncanny Sites

Diane Wakoski………………………………………………….The Butcher’s Apron
Barry Wallenstein…………………………………………………..Tony’s Dad
Mary Ann Wehler…………………………………………………..1943
Joe. E. Weil………………………………………………………….Ode to Elizabeth, NJ
Roger Weingarten…………………………………………………..Father Hunger & Son
Jack White…………………………………………………………The Big Three Killed
My Baby
Walt Whitman……………………………………………………I Hear America Singing

II. Short Fiction

Jeanne Bryner………………………………………………………Turn the Radio to a
Gospel Station
Bonnie Jo Campbell…………………………………………………Selling Manure
King Cole's
American Salvage
Willa Cather…………………………………………………………Paul’s Case
Wanda Coleman……………………………………………………..The Friday Night
Shift at the Taco
House Blues (Wah-Wah)
Stephen Crane………………………………………………………..Maggie
Jim Daniels…………………………………………………………..No Pets
Kathleen Glynn……………………………………………………….Spring Today
Bill Harris…………………………………………………………….At The Movies
Lolita Hernandez…………………………………………………….. No Puedo Bailar
Christopher T. Leland…………………………………………………The Old West
M.L. Liebler…………………………………………………………...Swallowing Camels
Colleen McElroy………………………………………………………Sister Detroit
Bret Lott………………………………………………………………..Work
John Sayles……………………………………………………………The 7/10 Split
Larry Smith…………………………………………………………..Outside the Millgate
Clifford Odets…………………………………………………………I Can’t Sleep
Jeff Vande Zande……………………………………………………..Layoff
Xu Xi…………………………………………………………………To Body To Chicken

III. Non-Fiction , Histories & Memoirs

Rebecca Harding Davis………………………………Excerpt from Life in the Iron Mills
Dorothy Day……………………………………Excerpts from The Dorothy Day Reader
Jennifer Gillan Navigating New Jeresy
Woody Guthrie………………………………………………..from Bound for Glory
Ben Hamper……………………………………………………Excerpt from Rivethead

Thomas Lynch……………………………………………Excerpt from The Undertaking
Michael Moore……………………………………………… Horatio Alger Must Die

Henry P. Rosemont………….Benjamin Franklin & The Philadelphia Typographical Strikers of 1786
Al Young………………………………………………………Memoir Excerpt

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Acclaimed poet M.L. Liebler inherited a blue-collar outlook on life that helps drive his tireless efforts to promote the literary arts in metro Detroit and encourage other writers . . .. A labor of love . . . A powerful, eclectic assortment.”—Detroit Free Press

“Unabashedly political. Tea-partiers beware. Working Words delivers more than 500 pages of unadulterated and unabridged working-class word art. . . . A heavy anthology . . . which suits the mission of Working Words just fine.”—Detroit Metro Times

“In this watershed time when so many technological, geopolitical, and financial forces are eradicating American jobs and dismantling the old blue-collar world, writer and activist Liebler presents a mammoth, high-voltage anthology of American poems, songs, memoirs, and fiction about work and working-class lives.-Booklist

"The value of an encyclopedic book like this one is that readers get a flavor for how writers have told their personal stories of working-class existence through multiple literary forms. The poems, songs, and stories are meant not just to celebrate the written form but also to speak to the importance of how creative writing contributes to the lives of the poor and working class."—Labor Studies Journal

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