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The poems in Working Class integrate the experiences of construction labor, Sicilian roots, family and spiritual life. The focus on religious training and physical work appear in poems such as “Lucky Old Men,” and “Pretty Girls in Tight Jeans in Church.” These mostly free-verse poems incorporate subtle metrics, rhymes, and stanza structures to make the poems both accessib ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published December 11th 2017 by Stephen F. Austin University Press
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As the title tells you, these poems are about real, everyday life, like Stewart’s earlier book, Plumbers. He talks of chickens, sick horses, his dog, Ash Wednesday, a brewery job, his family’s village back in Italy, and the St. Louis mafia. Stewart learned how to plumb in case his literary and academic aspirations didn’t pay off. Fortunately for us, they did. He marries low-brow topics with high-brow craft, sprinkling literary quotes and references through his work. There’s something for every r ...more
A friend of mine commented, "Still rivers run deep," and she's right. Part of the beauty in this collection of poems is the humility of a speaker who has learned to live well inside a gritty world and has emerged from it seeing the beauty of the landscape and the hearts of the people who inhabit it. "Brewery Job" is such a poem, a piece about McNamara, a plumber and alcoholic. The tenderness of the speaker for McNamara, "the man who drinks the most, and though/his drains dropped and pressure hel ...more