Barbara Presnell grew up in Asheboro, North Carolina, where her father was production superintendent of a locally owned textile manufacturing company. She has published three poetry chapbooks, and her work has appeared in such journals as Southern Review, Laurel Review, and Malahat Review. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She lives in Lexington, NC, and teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“One does not know which to admire more in this collection—its fierce documentary honesty, or the perfect pitch of its imagined speakers. The two come together memorably in poem after poem, giving us a deep and abiding insight into industrial and post-industrial America. This, too, is part of poetry’s task: to tell what happened, and why it still matters.” –Jared Carter
“Charlie, the first-shift foreman at the textile mill, is proud to say, ‘What I do means something in this world.’ Other workers—Tonisha, Sherry, Jimmy, Bill—could say so too but probably won’t. In Piece Work, one of the strongest, most truthful books of poetry I have ever read, Barbara Presnell says it for them, to them, with them, in lines of pure and heartfelt respect. Here are some words—courage, exhaustion, hope, despair, persistence, defiance,—never spoken but always profoundly lived. In this fine poet’s hands, they are more than words.” –Fred Chappell