Pennsylvania “Working-class Poets” in World Literature Today

Pennsylvania Turnpike
PA Turnpike (Photo by Rhys A.)

I was talking about social media here yesterday, and when I dragged myself from covers to coffee and consciousness late this morning, I was surprised to see how much that post had been shared and tweeted about in the early hours of this Wednesday. To say more would be to engage in the kind of name-dropping I cautioned against.

I’ve already re-tweeted and commented and followed as my way of giving thanks for the attention my post received, and while I am as guilty as the next writer of shameless self-promotion at some prudent juncture it’s best to let the writing and the reputation I might be building attempt to stand on its own merit. Instead I would like to take a moment to highlight two of my favorite Pennsylvania poets who were in the social media-literary lime light this morning.

Karen J. Weyant, the author of Wearing High Heels in the Rust Belt and Stealing Dust, is a two-feet-on-the-ground kind of poet whom I had the privilege of meeting a while back when she came to speak at Bloomsburg University. You can find links to more of her work on her WordPress blog, The Scrapper Poet.

Brian Fanelli I haven’t had the privilege of meeting in person yet, but we’ve commented on each other’s WordPress posts, and I’ve had the honor of receiving a some kind remarks from Brian on my own writing. He’s been giving live readings lately from his new book, “All that Remains,” and I am hoping to catch him at the Hoyt Library in Kingston on November 18th.

Both of these poets were featured in World Literature Today‘s article “16 American Working-class Poets,” which I discovered by stumbling upon the following tweet by Maureen Doallas this morning:

The article spotlights poets from all over the US, but there seemed to be a heavy Pennsylvania influence throughout. And this made me very happy indeed. Please check out Karen’s featured poem, “Redemption at Ray’s Corner Grocery Store,” and Brian’s “Adjunct Blues.”

I raise my glass (well, coffee mug) to both of you, an inspiration and encouragement to working class poets everywhere, and this one in particular.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. slpmartin says:

    Perhaps the beauty of the state fosters poets. 🙂


    1. I like that notion, Charles. 🙂


  2. kweyant says:

    We are rust and dust all the way here in Pennsylvania! 🙂

    Thanks for the shoutout!



    1. My pleasure! 🙂 From the dirty, but pretty woods and waters in the middle.


  3. David, thanks for this shoutout, and I was thrilled to see so many Pennsylvania-based poets showcased. Sandee Gertz Umbach is also featured, and she hails from Pittsburgh, though she lives in Nashville now.


    1. Yes! And another went to school at Penn State, though is living out west. I noticed several like that. 🙂 And you are very welcome, Brian. It was my pleasure.


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