the labors of our fingertips: poems

$1,875 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 44 months
the full name of this poetry project is "the labors of our fingertips: poems from manufacturing history in berks county."

anyone who contributes at least $20 to this campaign will receive a copy of the first or second book for this project, until the limited release supply runs out. this includes around 250+ copies aside from the copies being given for free to the poem-sources as well as historical societies and interested libraries in berks county. please reach out here or via the blog, facebook page, or email to give me your mailing address, or let me know which upcoming poetry reading you can attend for obtaining a copy.

***if you'd like to support the project more and also purchase a book, please offer $20 for the book and then offer a separate donation/transaction to support the project so the second contribution would not be taxable for the poet-- this helps out a lot in keeping things easier with the tax man and is greatly appreciated.  =)

the blog--

the facebook--

the goal of this project is to build poems out of the memories and reflections of older seniors, in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, who worked in the mostly now gone mills and factories of berks county, pennsylvania, many decades ago.

the project will last at least three years and will involve three books with 25 poems in each, created from recollections seniors have of working in manufacturing in berks county, to preserve their stories and give light to a part of local history which might otherwise be overlooked and thus lost. and this is also a way to honor those who kept our economy more than afloat for so long.

as of early september 2016,  volumes 1 and 2 are both published and available for sale.

a pennsylvania council on the arts  grant and berks arts council  grant are helping to fund a portion of this project. support in all possible ways, whether financial, suggestions for seniors to interview, or spiritual and emotional hurrah-ing, is greatly appreciated.  gracious thanks also go to berks bards , studio b , and other community places which have hosted poetry readings for this project.

foothills publishing  based in steuben county, new york, publishes the books in this project. each book is hand-stitched, which in itself a form of contemporary manufacturing and deserves a lot of respect per fingertip of those who help to make these and many other great poetry books possible, including several other berks county poets.

look on the blog  and facebook page  for announcements of poetry readings around the community at libraries, art galleries, senior centers, retirement communities, historical societies, and colleges and universities. some seniors from the poems will usually be in attendance at the readings so members of audiences can connect and talk with them about any common memories and stories of days long ago. so far, the first three readings have been received with gracious, grateful feedback from those who attend.

to join the email list, or for suggestions on sources, please reach out. thank you greatly for your support !
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volume three of this project is now out. copies of volume one and two are also still available. donate $20 for a single copy of any volume.
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The third volume in this poetry project is lining up to be published into August and September of 2017 through FootHillis Publishing in rural New York. See the blog ( for updates, excerpts, info about poetry readings, and eye-scenes from the third and final year of the labors of our fingertips: poems from manufacturing history of berks county.
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thank you so much to richard liston, nancy hemberger, elizabeth stanley, martha ressler, nettie wolfe silva, linda steffy, carol wozniak, erica viskie, randy waterman, and ashley chambers for their support of this campaign in recent months. it is tremendously appreciated, as are the donations and book purchases of those who connected to the project at poetry readings in the community and in other ways. please pass on the word about the project, and if anyone has recommendations on seniors to interview for the second year of poems, send suggestions this way.
the first book from this poetry project.
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$1,875 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 44 months
Created August 3, 2015
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Elizabeth Hawman
4 months ago

Thank you for bringing a voice to an important (and underappreciated) part of the history of Berks County. My grandfather (Leroy Fretz) is "featured" in volume 2. After sharing 98 years with the world, he passed away yesterday. I am hoping to receive two copies of this volume to help preserve his memory among our family.

Lilly Hetrick-Ludy
16 months ago

To My Rockin Aunt Jenny!!! :) Aunt Jenny Is Cool She Makes All Words Sound Better New Car No Problems

Carol Wozniak
20 months ago

To the daughter I never had; but now I do.

Erica Vinskie
21 months ago

Congrats on finishing this project, Jennifer! This is such a valuable contribution to our region :)

David Burns
21 months ago

An amazing young lady who makes me want to live to be one hundred and sixty, just so I can see her life develop. I believe she is going to be something really special. She already is, but I know that more is coming!

31 months ago
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33 months ago
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