Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies: Poems

Overview

2006 Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry "Daniels can turn a poem in unexpected directions, and he has an ear for real American phrasing—nothing pumped up, inflated, 'Poetic' with a capital 'P.' Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies is the real stuff: honest, very well made, engaging, and loaded with irony and humor."—Christopher Buckley, author of Sleepwalk: California Dreamin' and a Last Dance with the '60s On Places/Everyone "These poems are a refreshment. They hiss and steam with the street's vibrant hardness, the effort ...

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Overview

2006 Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry "Daniels can turn a poem in unexpected directions, and he has an ear for real American phrasing—nothing pumped up, inflated, 'Poetic' with a capital 'P.' Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies is the real stuff: honest, very well made, engaging, and loaded with irony and humor."—Christopher Buckley, author of Sleepwalk: California Dreamin' and a Last Dance with the '60s On Places/Everyone "These poems are a refreshment. They hiss and steam with the street's vibrant hardness, the effort to look around the corner, pain in the eyes after a long day's work."—Carolyn Forché, author of Blue Hour Jim Daniels has published nine collections of poetry, as well as screenplays and short fiction. His poems have appeared in the Pushcart Prize and the Best American Poetry anthologies. Daniels lives in Pittsburgh, where he directs the Creative Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University.

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What People Are Saying

Christopher Buckley
"Daniels can turn a poem in unexpected directions. He has an ear for real American phrasing—nothing pumped up, inflated, 'Poetic' with a capital 'P.' Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies is the real stuff: honest, very well made, engaging, and loaded with irony and humor."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597660242
  • Publisher: Eastern Washington University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

A native of Detroit, JIM DANIELS now lives in Pittsburgh. He is the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, where he teaches in the creative writing program. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Brittingham Prize for Poetry, Jim Daniels has published three volumes of short fiction and nine collections of poems, among them Show and Tell: New and Selected Poems (2003), which was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. He has also written the screenplays for two independent feature films, No Pets (1994) and Dumpster (2005), and is the author of a one-act play, Heart of Hearts, which was produced at New York's 13th Street Repertory Theater in 1998. His poems have appeared widely and have been featured in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies.
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Table of Contents

You bring out the boring white guy in me
Vitamins
Poetry
Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies
Firing the Late Person
The Land of 3000 Dreams
Capital Punishment: Lethal Injection
Hung Out to Dry
?
The ability of the corpse
These days they're wearing their halos right

Sizing the Ring

Cement Mixer
Cry Room, St. Mark's Church
Summer Strike at the Axle Plant
Ringing Doorbells
Rocking at the DQ
Charles Holmes blew up the chem lab
Outdoor Chef
Efficiency, Bowling Green, OH
Explicit
Bridal Dance, Redux
Take Your Pills
American Dream
Wonder

Todi Landscape
Mystery Seeds
Esperanza
Dim
White Crayon
Waiting Room, Children's Hospital, Pittsburgh
Illuminating the Saints
Imperfectly
Nocturne in Blue
Sledding in America
They
Big Bang
Mending Fences
Engraving
Flags

Acknowledgments
About the Author

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Humble, Quixotic, Right In Front

    Ahh, the vulnerability. If you've ever been a novelist or poet with writers block (or a reader with readers block), Daniels can be that author that shows you what ironic, humorous, sad and wonderful things can come out of the smallest of memories, the most quotidian of moments. For my psyche, "Revolt of the Crash Test Dummies" is an 80-page reminder that I don't need to be a struggling artist to have lots to write about and that it's possible to connect and commune with the pain and struggles of others through the windows in my house.

    Some of the well-known poems from start of the book - "You Bring Out the Boring White Guy In Me," "Firing the Late Person," "Capital Punishment: Lethal Injection" and "Poetry," have certainly made the rounds in swirling Portland literary event and open mic circles. I levitated toward the growing up, I'm-in-my-20s pieces in the middle of the book. One of my favorites was this one:

    "Efficiency, Bowling Green, OH"

    I lived in an ancient motel turned into efficiencies
    barely big enough for the double bed.
    Two electric burners and a sink.
    Four friends from Michigan came to visit.
    So happy to see them, I poured beer
    over their heads, up their sleeves. They in turn
    did not hurt me. I'd started smoking again.
    I blamed the whole state of Ohio. In that small town
    you could walk everywhere and nowhere
    and in between. Three bars-two with the word
    "Dead" in their names. The wind smacked us upside
    our drunken little heads. One friend, a woman,
    shared the bed with Marc. The rest of us lay
    on indoor-outdoor carpet in a U-shape around them.
    We listened to each other breath in that stinky room....
    ....I slept at the foot of the bed
    and was almost never happier. Four friends.
    If I was a dog, I'd have licked their feet.
    The U can be a beautiful letter, softly catching
    falling things... My friends convinced me to use
    my porch light for its radiant yellow,
    its optimistic glow. In case somebody might
    come home, even if it was only me.


    The pendulum swings so quickly between happy and sad moments, it adds depth to both extremes. A lot of dark stories try to redeem them selves with somewhat of a happy ending. Some of these poems do the opposite, connecting you to what's more actual in everyday life.

    Daniels can be humble and edgy at the same time and never writes poetry that can lose its authenticity through poetic niceties or grandiose metaphor. There's a ton of skill here. Just nothing that closes the door to what's real and right in front.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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