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Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams Paperback – October 19, 2010


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Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams + Calling Home: Working-Class Women's Writings + Blood on the Forge (New York Review Books Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press; First Edition edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566892481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566892483
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,546,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Work is a defining element in the American ethos, along with what may seem like its opposite, freedom. The ladder up from poverty and oppression, work can also be an instrument of psychological and intellectual impoverishment and tyranny. The ethics and injustices of work, and the heroism of the labor movement, have long inspired writers. Now, 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. After a rousing introduction, Liebler reaches back to the late-nineteenth century and ventures into our digital present to assemble a unique chorus of voices and array of perspectives. Here are the clarion words of Woody Guthrie, Clifford Odets, Dorothy Day, Philip Levine, Li-Young Lee, Carlos Cortez, Wanda Coleman, and Bonnie Jo Campbell. Poet and activist Ed Sanders sums it up in a tribute to the Wobblies (the Industrial Workers of the World), when he writes, “Seize Power & Sing.” --Donna Seaman

Review

“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


More About the Author

M. L. Liebler is a internationally known & widely published Detroit poet, university professor, literary arts activist and arts organizer, and he is the author of 13 books including the Award winning Wide Awake in Someone Else's Dream (Wayne State University Press 2008) featuring poems written in and about Russia, Israel, Germany, Alaska and Detroit. Wide Awake won both The Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence and The American Indie Book Award for 2009. In 2005, he was named St. Clair Shores (his hometown) first Poet Laureate. Liebler has read and performed his work in Israel, Russia, China, France, UK, Macao, Italy, Germany, Spain, Finland, Turkey and most of the 50 States. M.L. Liebler has taught English, American Studies, Labor Studies, Canadian Studies and World Literature at Wayne State University in Detroit since 1980, and he is the founding director of both The National Writer's Voice Project in Detroit and the Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization. He was recently selected as Best Detroit Poet by The Detroit Free Press & Detroit's Metro Time, and in he is the nation?s first ever Artist in Residence for a Public Library at The Chelsea District Library for 2008-2009. In 2010, he received The Barnes & Noble Poets & Writers Writers for Writers Award with Maxine Hong Kingston & Junot Diaz. Liebler is the editor of the ground breaking working class literature anthology & winner of Michigan Notable Book for 2011 Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams {Coffee House Press). www.mlliebler.com


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. F Gulvezan on November 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
M. L. Liebler, the internationally acclaimed poet and activist, has hit the nail on the head with his new anthology, WORKING WORDS: PUNCHING THE CLOCK AND KICKING OUT THE JAMS. In one affordably-priced volume, Mr. Liebler has packed close to 600 pages of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction chronicling the lives and times of working class Americans over approximately the last 100 years. While not neglecting past masters such as Stephen Crane, Willa Cather, and Walt Whitman, Liebler makes sure to include a generous sampling of fresh and exciting voices of American literature.
From the perceptive metaphors for working class-struggle of Caroline Maun ("The Houseplant," "The Abdication of the Bees") to Mariela Griffor's haunting penetration of the psyches of those who would do anything to claw their way to a sort-of success ("Boys") to Anca Vlasopolous's nightmare vision of the American dream gone askew ("Lakeshore Drives") to Liebler's own searing depictions of working-class struggle ("On the Scrap," "Making It Right"), this book is loaded with plenty of meat for the multitude of Americans who must work for a living to chew over. WORKING WORDS is a testament of working America and should be taught in classrooms and read aloud by huddled masses at trash-can fires for generations to come.
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By Jennifer Kropinak on January 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book because it is a new voice in poetry, one that inspires and unites. I purchased this book to get some much needed inspiration for my writing. The authors are great, the selection well put together.
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By Steve-A-Reno on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has some good stuff in it, but lots of really bad literature as well. The author should have been more selective about the literature that he put in the book. I do appreciate the fact that he paid a tribute to the working man though, you don't see that much in college.
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