This collection explores the tension between public and private arenas, with the figure of the laborer juxtaposed against that of the poet. Learning to “snap a line,” in Bill Witherup’s world, is as much about manual labor as it is about writing. Witherup has created a dynamic form of poetic memoir where the personal abuts the political and elegy intermingles with vivid stories about what kills us while we are alive. The poems in Men at Work concern themselves with the survival of the world as it should be, even when faced with how the world actually is: they are tough, filled with a beautiful, sorrowful hope. Displaying black humor in one line and lyrical natural beauty in the next, Men at Work is a triumph of theme, craft, and vision that surprises the reader with every move.
Witherup, Bill, "Men At Work" (1989). Ahsahta Press. 47.