As with Plotz's previous theme collections, these poems about work have only the theme in common. Happy resurrections (from John Clare, Stephen Vincent Benet) mingle with the dreadful (Thomas Hood's ""Song of the Shirt,"" and others like it); a familiar nursery rhyme (""Rich man poor man . . .""), children's verse (RLS's ""Lamplighter""), and folk song (""I've Been Working on the Railroad"") coexist with Anthony Hecht's adaptation ""freely from Horace,"" ""Application for a Grant""; and the personal perceptions of Theodore Roethke or the delights of William Carlos Williams keep company with sentimental amateur polemic. Still, these forgotten protests have their interest, and the theme itself may justify the emphasis on good old working-class polemic, whether well-made work by the likes of Byron and Shelley and Edgar Lee Masters or rougher efforts by Ebenezer Elliott (a British Corn Law protester of 1833), E. Y. Harburg (""Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?""), and the Lowell mill girls.