Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Book Recommendation: Fred Voss Carnegie Hall with Tin Walls. Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1998 (159 pages).
Reread this excellent working class collection of poetry last week for research purposes. There are 159 poems in the book, mostly from Voss's perspective. He worked as a machinist, usually on the Californian coast, for 30 years. In many of the poems he is employed by the Goodstone Aircraft Company, a fictitious firm which represents an amalgam of the several companies which Voss worked for.
The poems are written in highly transparent, free verse style and he includes a vast range of observational detail about factory life which is fascinating and often humorous in a wry, but humane way. You can't make this shit up! Particularly compelling is Voss's take on such things as dodgy work place practices, the good humour & the practical jokes workers play on each other, the strange habits of workers, and the general inefficiencies of the system.
Find a recent interview with Voss here: http://blues.gr/profiles/blogs/west-coast-poet-fred-voss-talks-about-the-jazz-blues-bukowski
Find 87 of Voss’s poems on Penniless Press here: http://www.pennilesspress.co.uk/poetry/fred_voss.htm