Joe E. WeilThe Plumber's Apprentice

Joe E. Weil

Thursday, January 20, 2011
7pm – 8pm

Book Reading and Signing

The Plumber’s Apprentice differs from Weil's previous work in that it charts the nature of suffering beyond the limits of his working class "Elizabeth" and focuses more deeply on two aspects of his life: his Irish Catholic sense of communion, with the living and the dead (all who have gone forth marked with the sign of faith), and the essential solitude of being a single, short, bald man who has no offspring, no legacy, no beloved, and is falling, however slowly, to his death. Perhaps the question Weil asks most frequently is: given the inevitable coordinates of ongoing failure, how does a poet give the middle finger to grade z forms of Emersonian positivism and have some fun in this vale of tears? In sum: if love is impossible, and life severely limited, and loneliness is devouring the furniture, where's the closest bar, and do they have a good jukebox? For brief moments Weil succeeds in making failure, death and love his drinking buddies. In the poet's messed up ontology, they make for a lively and comical crew.

Publisher: New York Quarterly Press
Genre: Poetry
Pre-Order The Plumber's Apprentice from Amazon and get it signed on January 20, 2011 at Africa House, 50 Washington Avenue, Endicott, NY.
Free entrance


Joe E. Weil
Lecturer in Creative Writing
New York Quarterly Press

For many years, Joe Weil worked as a tool maker on the night shift at National Tool and Manufacturing in Kenilworth, New Jersey. While there, he became active as a shop steward and organizer in the teamster’s union. He grew up in a working class family that encouraged learning for the beauty of learning—not for material gain.

Weil always wrote, and he read hundreds of books, while grinding tool bits, and negotiating labor contracts. Increasingly, he used his organizing skills on the poetry scene, founding a magazine called Black Swan Review which featured work by such noteworthy writers as Robert Creeley, Jan Richman, and Pablo Medina. He also ran an “urban environmental” magazine called Anti-Lawn which mixed poems and stories with articles about the environmental catastrophe of the American suburban life style—particularly the American lawn.

His activism included a traveling reading series for food pantries called ‘The Can of Corn Traveling Poets Series.” From 1989 until 2004, he was the director of poetry at the Baron Art Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Weil also won two certificates of recognition from the NFAAA for his teaching in the arts.

Weil’s poetry, essays, and stories have appeared in Big Scream, Red Brick Review, Poet Lore, The New Renaissance, Rattle, Paterson Literary Review, The Louisiana Review of Literature, National Labor Forum, the New York Times, and Lips magazine, among others. His three recent book publications are: The Publisher's Apprentice (2010 from New York Quarterly Books), What Remains (2009) and Painting the Christmas Tree (2009).

He has been a five time Pushcart prize nominee, has appeared on PBS “Fooling With Words” special, and has also read on Pacifica and National Public Radio, Most importantly of all, Weil plays a fairly good piano.

The Plumber's Apprentice by Joe E. Weil


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