Our current U.S. Poet Laureate, Philip Levine is a major inspiration of mine, capturing hardworking Americana in the same poetic vein as Springsteen, and the Jewish Question, in a manner that is wholly unique. This is all embodied in his National Book Award winning collection What Work Is (1991), one of the best collections of poetry I’ve ever read. Here’s a few lines from the titular poem:
"You’ve never / done something so simple, so obvious, / not because you’re too young or too dumb, / not because you’re jealous or even mean, / or incapable of crying in / the presence of another man, no / just because you don’t know what work is."