Working Words

An anthology edited by M. L. Liebler, with a foreword by Ben Hamper

October 19, 2010 • 6.5 x 9 • 550 pages • 978-1-56689-248-3

Poets, rock stars, filmmakers, activists, novelists, and historians lend their voices to this landmark collection about the daily grind.

From the White Stripes’s “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.

Contributors include:
Amiri Baraka, Eminem, Mark Nowak, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Woody Guthrie, Edward Sanders, Willa Cather, Lolita Hernandez, John Sayles, Andrei Codrescu, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Bret Lott, Quincy Troupe, Dorothy Day, Thomas Lynch, Jack White, Diane di Prima, Michael McClure, Walt Whitman, Bob Dylan, Michael Moore . . . and many more!

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 Writers for Writers Award, an honor shared with Maxine Hong Kingston and Junot Díaz.


“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