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Birth Marks

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Birth Marks

By: Jim Daniels

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2014 Michigan Notable Book

2014 Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award

Poetry Gold Medal, 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards

A poet of the working-class and city streets, Jim Daniels’ 14th poetry collection travels from Detroit to Ohio to Pittsburgh, from one post-industrial city to another, across jobs and generations. Daniels focuses on the urban landscape and its effects on its inhabitants as they struggle to establish community on streets hissing with distrust and random violence.

Out here, silence scrapes its knuckles
in an attempt at prayer.

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"The poetry of Jim Daniels springs from a deep well of compassion for the working class, their plundered cities and their plundered lives. His sharp eye surveys the landscapes of Detroit and Pittsburgh, his uncles struggling against alcoholism, his aunts scraping by on the wages of fast-food restaurants. His clear voice speaks for the fallen, from the company men who played by the rules and lost anyway to a child killed in a hit-and-run accident. Yet the poet finds dignity and redemption in the grace of baseball or the consolation of the human touch, spirituality in spite of churches, love in the mist of pesticide.” —Martín Espada

“Jim Daniels keeps getting better, going deeper into his lived life to find there the language of celebration, lamentation, victory, defeat, moral ambiguity, and political and social outrage. He curses what needs to be cursed, he blesses what needs to be blessed, and he stands in silent awe and wonder at the world turning about him, a world of unaccountable suffering and unaccounted for beauty. And while that world resists Daniels' best efforts to be made sense of, complex as it is, giant as it is, it can't help but yield its music to his gifted mind and impassioned heart.” —Li-Young Lee

 

From Birth Marks

The Gravity of Math

My daughter counts how many people
will love her forever. She says two  
(me and her mother). My son says three.
Does that mean you love me? she asks.
He's seven. She's six. The moon is nearly
full. Dreams are silents. I'm counting 
how many slabs of gray stone I've leaned 
against. He admits it, buckled in
behind me. I can't see back there.
The lights pour loosely onto the pavement
in front of us, spilling around the corner
toward home. Feel my heart, she says.
The world tilts. I lean into the turn.


About the Author

Jim Daniels’ recent books include Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry and Trigger Man: More Tales of the Motor City, winner of the Midwest Book Award. His poems appear widely in such places as Best American Poetry anthologies and the Pushcart Prize anthologies, and his poem “Factory Love” is displayed on the roof of a race car. Daniels has garnered such honors as the Brittingham Prize for Poetry, the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He is the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, and currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his family.

Additional Information

Authors Jim Daniels
Edition Paperback
ISBN 9781938160165
Publish Date September 10, 2013

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