At Work
by Joan McNerney
21 Poems ~ 28 Pages
Price: $10.00
ISBN: 978-81-8253-783-5
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Poet Joan McNerney’s third collection is, you might say, a book for all seasons. That is, At Work is about down-to-earth people. People who, in some cases, take the jobs other people won’t. But McNerney, does something special as she honors those jobs with verses that are vibrant and interesting. A grocery cashier is uncomfortable knowing. “A camera is poised on her.” A hospital switchboard operator hears the “heartbeat of the hospital.” An apartment house maintenance man knows that “Tomorrow he will return to pick up the pieces again.” These are practical poems that reflect the poet’s own hands on experiences.


I found this amazing little volume just the ticket to a couple of hours enjoyment on a recent flight from Chicago to Denver. Growing up in a small community in rural Illinois, the jobs Joan McNerney describes in At Work resonate with childhood memories. I knew a waitress name Wanda, who winked at me as she served my hamburger “dressed.” A pharmacist named Hazel not only filled prescriptions but made delicious lemon sodas I slurped while sitting at the counter. Miss Elliott was the teacher who taught typing class—a class I frequently “goofed off” in. The memories flooded over me as I read. When the plane landed at Denver International, I wondered how the time had escaped without my noticing!
—Michael Escoubas, author of Images: A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry

Upon reading these wonderful poems about work, I immediately found common ground. As a life-long lover of creative work, I’ve been a poet, concert performer, lyricist, artist, film maker and mentor to countless folks aspiring to the arts. What I like about At Work is the realism McNerney captures in each poem. She tells the truth, which is the “work” of a poet. She has an acute sense of the challenges and disappoints that occur as we invest ourselves in the most important work of all: People.
—Sharmagne Leland-St. John, author of The Trip


Joan McNerney’s poetry has appeared in more than seven hundred publications both on line and in print. Worldwide over thirty countries have included her work. She has been nominated four times for Best of the Net. Her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she also has e-book titles. She has performed readings which were broadcast on numerous public radio and television stations. Author of both The Muse in Miniature and Love Poems for Michael.

She has recited her poetry at the National Arts Club, Gramercy Park, New York City, State University of New York, Oneonta, State University of Texas, Houston, McNay Art Institute, San Antonio, and other distinguished venues. The American Academy of Poetry sponsored a personal appearance at Bright Hills Art Gallery in New York.

Joan McNerney lives in the northeast, USA.


The Librarian

by Joan McNerney

Always cherished the sanctity of
this place. This refuge of
knowledge arranged in infallible
logic of the Dewey Decimal system.

Brian loved to touch these volumes.
Especially heavy reference
dictionaries, atlases, almanacs
and encyclopedias. Those sheltered
in secluded shelves for staff only.

Children come along each day
to feast on colorful books. Lounging
in small chairs, they become
spellbound by cornucopias of words.

Mostly he likes he retirees who
linger with newspapers and
magazines in the reading corner.
They confess not to understand
computers, writing down requested titles.

At the end of evening, Brian walks
through the quiet. Before leaving,
he will select a saga of spicy
adventure to flavor his evening.


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