You Work Tomorrow

An Anthology of American Labor Poetry, 1929-41
John Marsh, Editor
Foreword by Jim Daniels
The first-ever anthology of American labor poetry of the Great Depression


You Work Tomorrow provides a glimpse into a relatively unknown aspect of American literary and labor history—the remarkable but largely forgotten poems published in union newspapers during the turbulent 1930s. Members of all unions—including autoworkers, musicians, teachers, tenant farmers, garment workers, artists, and electricians—wrote thousands of poems during this period that described their working, living, and political conditions. From this wealth of material, John Marsh has chosen poetry that is both aesthetically appealing and historically relevant, dispelling the myth that labor poetry consisted solely of amateurish and predictable sloganeering. A foreword by contemporary poet Jim Daniels is followed by John Marsh's substantive introduction, detailing the cultural and political significance of union poetry.

"An outstanding piece of scholarship and a welcome contribution to the field, this collection of neglected but powerful poetry speaks to our own time as much as it does to its own era."
—Nicholas Coles, University of Pittsburgh

"Opens up a dramatic new aspect of American literature for study, discussion, and enjoyment. The collection of poems is original and engaging and is sure to be useful for classes in literature, American history, and labor studies."
—Alan Wald, University of Michigan

John Marsh is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Coordinator of The Odyssey Project, a year-long, college-accredited course in the humanities offered at no cost to adults living below or slightly above the federal poverty level.

Praise / Awards

  • Winner: Constance Coiner Book Award from the Working-Class Studies Association

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Copyright © 2007, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 248pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2007
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05000-0

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  • $26.95 U.S.