Cover image for Working classics : poems on industrial life
Title:
Working classics : poems on industrial life
Author:
Oresick, Peter.
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1990]

©1990
Physical Description:
xxix, 269 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780252017308

9780252061332
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS591.W65 W6 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

A diverse collection of 169 poems by 74 poets writing about blue- collar America at work. Arrangement is by author, with indexing that gives access by subjects such as accidents, after work, bosses, various industries, retirement, sabotage, pride in work. The theme of work is a central and evocative one, and this collection brings its importance home. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR


Summary

A diverse collection of 169 poems by 74 poets writing about blue- collar America at work. Arrangement is by author, with indexing that gives access by subjects such as accidents, after work, bosses, various industries, retirement, sabotage, pride in work. The theme of work is a central and evocative one, and this collection brings its importance home. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

These 169 poems by 74 poets about the prosaic life of working with big machines, mostly in factories, are themselves pretty prosey. A few are terse as imagist snippets (without being imagist) or long-breathed as Whitman (without being Whitmanian), but most are straightforward as workaday storytelling. Some of the best are by seasoned poets of labor, such as Philip Levine, Jay Parini, and David Budbill, but big names are not much in evidence. As the occasionally wrongheaded introduction notes, the dominant tone is elegiac--for fathers who worked, for those who died at work, for lives diminished by industrial work, but largely for the fact that industrial America is vanishing. This book is an analog to photographer David Plowden's effort to record the American industrial landscape before it's all rusted and razed, and it evokes a similar response. There's much in it that appalls, but much also that moves. (As for the introduction's wrongheadedness, it consists in the misperception that Whitman "democratize[d] poetry, [a] traditionally elitist, European art." It's more arguable that Whitman's influence elitized what had been a traditional and popular art.) Subject index. ~--Ray Olson


Library Journal Review

So many foremen show so many workers how to do something ``like this'' in this book that after a while the phrase takes on a terrifying regularity, for these poems are about work: the hard, monotonous kind that changes people for the worse and makes ghosts of them. Almost all of these characters try to have a real life away from the job site, but they're never quite successful: one woman finds refuge in her partner's arms, but as she says, ``big husband dead thirty years now.'' There are 169 poems here by 74 fine poets; one hopes at least a few bosses will read them.-- David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

These 169 poems by 74 poets about the prosaic life of working with big machines, mostly in factories, are themselves pretty prosey. A few are terse as imagist snippets (without being imagist) or long-breathed as Whitman (without being Whitmanian), but most are straightforward as workaday storytelling. Some of the best are by seasoned poets of labor, such as Philip Levine, Jay Parini, and David Budbill, but big names are not much in evidence. As the occasionally wrongheaded introduction notes, the dominant tone is elegiac--for fathers who worked, for those who died at work, for lives diminished by industrial work, but largely for the fact that industrial America is vanishing. This book is an analog to photographer David Plowden's effort to record the American industrial landscape before it's all rusted and razed, and it evokes a similar response. There's much in it that appalls, but much also that moves. (As for the introduction's wrongheadedness, it consists in the misperception that Whitman "democratize[d] poetry, [a] traditionally elitist, European art." It's more arguable that Whitman's influence elitized what had been a traditional and popular art.) Subject index. ~--Ray Olson


Library Journal Review

So many foremen show so many workers how to do something ``like this'' in this book that after a while the phrase takes on a terrifying regularity, for these poems are about work: the hard, monotonous kind that changes people for the worse and makes ghosts of them. Almost all of these characters try to have a real life away from the job site, but they're never quite successful: one woman finds refuge in her partner's arms, but as she says, ``big husband dead thirty years now.'' There are 169 poems here by 74 fine poets; one hopes at least a few bosses will read them.-- David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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