What Work Is

What Work Is

Poems

Book - 1991
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Random House, Inc.
Winner of the National Book Award in 1991

“This collection amounts to a hymn of praise for all the workers of America. These proletarian heroes, with names like Lonnie, Loo, Sweet Pea, and Packy, work the furnaces, forges, slag heaps, assembly lines, and loading docks at places with unglamorous names like Brass Craft or Feinberg and Breslin’s First-Rate Plumbing and Plating. Only Studs Terkel’s Working approaches the pathos and beauty of this book. But Levine’s characters are also significant for their inner lives, not merely their jobs. They are unusually artistic, living ‘at the borders of dreams.’ One reads The Tempest ‘slowly to himself’; another ponders a diagonal chalk line drawn by his teacher to suggest a triangle, the roof of a barn, or the mysterious separation of ‘the dark from the dark.’ What Work Is ranks as a major work by a major poet . . . very accessible and utterly American in tone and language.”
—Daniel L. Guillory, Library Journal

Baker & Taylor
Poems celebrate working Americans, including the firefighter, the assembly-line worker, the farmer, the high school teacher, and others

Publisher: New York : Knopf, 1991.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780679401667
0679401660
Branch Call Number: 811.54 LEV
Characteristics: 77 p. ; 24 cm.

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Mystified13
Aug 24, 2016

Celebrating real labor and actual workers, this book was essentially my introduction to what I call "substantial" poetry, in my middle-aged years. A must read.

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