Poetry at Work, a life-changing book?
Someone will say I am biased. After all, I represent the publisher. Plus, once the writer and editor did their amazing work, it was me who did the final quiet edits and changes (now you know who to blame for a handful of errors, if you were one of the two people who managed to order the book while it was secretly sitting on Amazon waiting for my final, final changes).
But, if you know me, you know I don’t bother to say what I don’t believe is true. It wastes your time and erodes your confidence in me if I go around saying every book I encounter is a must-read!!! and life-changing!!! In fact, you also know that I will always tell a writer exactly (gently) what I think. I don’t aim to make any of my writers weep, but I do feel it is a worse “favor” to cover the truth about their work. I would make a terrible vanity publisher.
All this to say: I truly believe that Glynn Young’s Poetry at Work is a life-changing book. I was silenced many times while reading it—to think of what Glynn has experienced with his journey of poetry at work, and to think of the enormous possibility that his encapsulation of this journey (along with ideas for practice) will have for those who slip this volume into their briefcases (backpacks, bags, totes, really big pockets). There are few books that a person bothers to re-read (or, heck, even finish in the first place); this book will stand out as the one worth reading, re-reading, and leaving near your workspace for both desperate and triumphant moments (as well as for the quiet, everyday keep-on of a working life).
Dave Malone says this:
“With Poetry at Work, corporate speechwriter Glynn Young adds eloquently to the conversation on poetry enjoyed by Dana Gioia, David Whyte, and Clare Morgan. I love this book in part because of its difficulty—or, rather, ease—in classifying its audience: everyone should read it. Poets, CEOs, HR directors, IT workers, nurses, job applicants, and even non-poets. How can you not want to read a book that compares the morning work commute to Joyce Kilmer and Homer? Young’s unique vision of poetry in the workplace goes beyond any primer or workbook—this book is elemental. The human drama of beauty, passion and conflict is here, expressed in its own poetry where the utilitarian cubicle is haiku, the sprawling conference room a villanelle, and the bristly TSA agent, a poet.”
The one word that came to mind after I first read Glynn’s manuscript was “eloquent.” I was so pleased to see that word right up front in Dave’s description. It’s true. Poetry at Work is an eloquent book. Not fancy, not obscurely poetic, and yet not simple. Eloquent.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary reveals this about the word:
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin eloquent-, eloquens, from present participle of eloqui to speak out, from e- + loqui to speak
How fitting. Perhaps it is Glynn’s background as a long-time speechwriter that landed him here in eloquence. Perhaps his well-crafted “speaking out” will land you there too: at an eloquence of lifestyle you didn’t know you were looking for, didn’t know you needed until you found it in these pages. That’s my great hope.
Tell me a poem, a story
of a favored poet or poem,
one who changed your life,
your mind, opened up
possibilities, or made you
feel secure as your anchors,
your moorings, were removed.
Speak to me of your need;
describe the expectations
(are they great ones?), explain
how we soar together, toward
the sun, if not the moon,
tell me how I become
part of your larger self.
—Glynn Young, from Poetry at Work
Photo and post by L.L. Barkat.
Poetry at Work, by Glynn Young, foreword by Scott Edward Anderson
“This book is elemental.”