To the Chick in a Workshop Circa 1995 Who Said Real Poets Don't Write about Truck Drivers

You said I should stop
writing poems about
one armed waitresses,
truck drivers, net menders,
greasy people in factories, and
with a roll of your eyes--
The South.

Just because you shaved
your head and not your legs
didn't make you a poet,
Suburb Girl.

I ran into you last week
at the grocery store.
You carry a briefcase,
have a cute little bob
hair do and you
don't write much but
are on tenure track and
can quote all the classics.

Of course, there were
grits in my shopping cart.
I've got a crappy day job
and I'm still writing poems
about a Vietnam vet named
Gator and a shrimp boat
captain with a glass eye.

But now, I'm much more
poetic, because I can
incorporate foreign
phrasing into my
line breaths.
Pissez au loin, fille riche.
Piss off, rich girl.
I've got a truck driver
to write about.

:: Julie Buffaloe-Yoder, in Side of Grits


  1. I was searching "working class poetry," and much to my surprise, I am here. Thank you very much, Ron. It might swell my head even more, though:)

    You may already have him listed here, but I haven't found Kell Robertson yet. Do you know his work? He's one of my mentors, and he's the greatest. Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel is another great. She is no longer with us, but her work is astounding. I'll keep looking. Maybe they're here.

    I know and love the work of a lot of the poets you have posted, but I'm excited to find the ones I don't know. Thanks much!

  2. Julie,
    Thanks for reading--and for your poem. I don't yet know Kell Robinson's work, but I'll start looking immediately. And Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel is another great suggestion. I sometimes think I stray a bit far from the "working class" category with some of the poems I post, but I do think they're all arguably connected. And there's so much more out there. I'm very happy to know that folks are reading the poems here.

    All best,