The Art of Work

Jen Fitzgerald

Louis Zukofsky once wrote that poetry’s lower limit was speech and its upper limit was music. Jen Fitzgerald’s The Art of Work recalibrates these limits for a contemporary working class poetry whose lower limit here is the killing floor or the garden-level apartment and whose upper limit might be workers’ comp or, quite simply, a shift coming to an end. The Art of Work turns this “history of necessity” into brilliant, tightly honed verse. It should be read across the classes, across the classrooms, in union halls, at literary festivals, and on the picket lines.

Mark Nowak

Jennifer Fitzgerald’s bolts of poetic power are increasingly lighting up the night. In this collection, Fitzgerald’s poetics sets out to rethread fragmented personal experience, family lore, socio-cultural prohibitions and allowances, in order to bear down on staid notions of labor and the working body. What’s achieved is a historical perspective that has both sweep and depth. What’s implicitly rejected is an all-too- easy thumbs up “like” of struggle. Fitzgerald’s elevated Intercultural Poetic Competence (IPC), borne of a rigorous examination of the political forces most proximate to her social origins, allows her to radically reframe both speculative and applied knowledges of Solidarity, knowledges long overdue for a retrofitting in the 21 st century. Thus, it is not a “work of art” that intrigues us here, but rather, The Art of Work.

Rodrigo Toscano

Jen Fitzgerald describes her collection of poems in the Art of Work as being a collaborative labor. How else could it be with her amazing feel for the world of work and the art she finds in it. Her connection is made primarily through those who labor in the processing, retailing, and serving of animal products. Amongst the workers, many members of the United Food and Commercial Workers, there is story telling which brings you into a world which is tumultuous in images and emotions.

The workplace which separates families by long hours, the banality, the seldom appreciated skill, the glimpse of friendship, the ongoing struggle to maintain dignity, the solidarity when it exists presents work life at its toughest. Would that there was more light and message of hope. Perhaps that is the point. The organizing and cries for revolt and emancipation will have to come from our throats.

Dr. Elaine Bernard

Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard University

Jen Fitzgerald is a poet, essayist, and native New Yorker who received her MFA in Poetry at Lesley University. She is the host of New Books in Poetry Podcast as part of the New Books Network, a member of New York Writers Workshop, and teaches for LitReactor. She is a community and social activist whose work has been featured on PBS Newshour and
Harriet: The Poetry Foundation Blog and in Tin House, Salon, PEN Anthology, AAWW: Open City, and in forthcoming anthologies among others.

Reviews and News

2017 Winners of the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry

The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners and finalists for the 2017 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry.

Winner: UNMANNED by Jessica Rae Bergamino

We will be also publishing Inland Empire by Leah Huizar


Orient by Nicholas Gulig

Ochre/Orpheus by Meredith Stricker

Bodega by Su Hwang

STET by Dora Malech

We Are Too Big for This House by Sara Borias

2016 Winners of the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry

The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners, finalists, and semi finalists for the 2016 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry.

Winner: Indictus by Natalie Eilbert

Finalist: Careen by Grace Shuyi Liew

We will be also publishing Gentry!fication: or the scene of the crime by Chaun Webster and A Problem and Some Space by Hannah Ensor


The Devil’s Workshop by Xavier Cavazos

Hagia Animalia by Sara Biggs Chaney

Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Leaving Impulse by Rachel Martin

Manipur by Robin McLachlen

The Historians of Redundant Moments: Novel in Poems by Nandini Dhar

Northern Ledger by Kate Partridge

Probable Garden by Bronwen Tate

Saints and Cannibals by Robert Lunday

Winter Swimmers by Carolyn DeCarlo

Woman, Yielding by Andrea Blancas Beltran

un/documented—kentucky—songs by Steven Alvarez

2015 Winners of the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry

The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners, finalists, and semi finalists for the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry. We received about 400 poetry submissions this year and thank all the writers who submitted for trusting us with their work.


Bone Confetti by Muriel Leung



Natality by E. G. Means

MOUTHS by Claire Marie Stancek


We will also be publishing finalist Vanessa Villarreal’s manuscript Beast Meridian in the Akrilica series.


Poetry Semifinalists

They Go In Pairs by Samuel Ace

Arcadia, Indiana (a tragedy) by Toby Altman

You Can Take It Out by Cheryl Clark Vermeulen

Red of Split Water-A Burial Rite by Lisa Donovan

Century Worm by Todd Fredson

Actual Echo by Matthew Mahaney

A Turkish Dictionary by Andrew Wessels

Review of Between Grammars at Entropy

Vogel describes her early experiences of reading and writing as “a bridging between [her] voice and [her] body,” as a kind of communion. “Language slowed the world for me,” she recalls, “it gave me a sense of tactility, a skin to encase my thinking.” Vogel’s visceral experience of language is palpable in Between Grammars; there is a sense of tactility ever-present. Beyond the philosophical exploration, reading this book is as much a sensory experience as an intellectual one, the text shot through with light, sound, and touch.


Read the rest at Entropy.

Rain Taxi review of The Ghost In Us Was Multiplying

Armendinger is a master at using fragmented language with precise purpose. His poems experiment with language and form—this collection includes a poem delivered in the form of an instant messenger conversation, and a poem placed as a footnote within another poem—but never read as mere avant-garde posturing. Instead, Armendinger again and again finds new ways to use defamiliarized language to access the unsayable.

It’s a rare and wonderful thing to find a poet who can so powerfully, vividly, and gracefully engage with the problems of language and the world. The Ghost In Us Was Multiplying is a vital book: experimental, substantial, fragmented, unified, unsettled, and unsettling, Armendinger’s work is key reading for all those who care about what our broken words can do.

Read the rest at Rain Taxi.

Cleaver Magazine reviews Change Machine

Change Machine Book CoverJ. G. McClure reviewed Bruce Covey’s Change Machine for Cleaver Magazine:

Think about the change machine outside your car wash: you put in a dollar, the machine spits out coins. Not a neat bundle, but a jangling tray-full. Now think of William Carlos Williams: “A poem is a machine made of words.”Now give William Carlos Williams superpowers and have him beat the hell out of the car wash while musing on Pokémon, Barthes, and metapoetics, and you’ve got a sense of Bruce Covey’s Change Machine.

Read the full review at Cleaver Magazine 

The Art of Work book cover

$15 Paperback | September 2016
ISBN-13 978-1-934819-57-9