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In this wide-ranging collection, Jim Daniels moves from Detroit to Pittsburgh, from childhood to parenthood, meditating on memory and loss, on what we try to dispose of in our own personal landfills, and what we are confronted with in the present moments of our daily lives. He riffs on popular music in the "Esperanto" poems, trying to capture what is universal about music, apart from language, using the only thing at his disposal—language. In "The Tenured Guy" series, he creates an Everyman character to examine some of the less noble aspects of academic life, similar to how he used the character "Digger" to explore factory life in his earlier books. Throughout the book, Daniels' cynicism battles with his sense of wonder. In the face of our bones turning to dust, he seems to argue, we can both experience the pain of laughter and the joy of tears.
About the Author
JIM DANIELS has published eleven other books of poetry, along with three collections of short stories. He has also written three films and edited or co-edited four anthologies. His poems have appeared in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies and have been featured on Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac," in Billy Collins' Poetry 180 anthologies, and in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry series. In addition, his poem "Factory Love" has been reproduced on the roof of a racecar. Other recognitions include the Brittingham Prize for Poetry, The Blue Lynx Poetry Prize, the Tillie Olsen Prize, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Table of Contents
HOLE IN THE THEORY
The Compete Lack of Home Movies
Hole in the Theory
Aerial View of Warren, Michigan
I Lost My Voice in a Mall
Dogs Do It
For the Boy Who Cheered the Nazis During the "Sing-a-Long Sound of Music"
Landscape with Gum Wrapper
Ode to the Reel Mower
Reincarnation of the Peace Sign
Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Bobby Blue Bland
THE TENURED GUY
The Tenured Guy Examines His Conscience
The Tenured Guy: Department Meeting, Friday Afternoon
The Tenured Guy's Trajectory
The Tenured Guy Calculates Salaries
The Tenured Guy Gets Ambushed
The Tenured Guy Takes His New Head to the Ball Game
The Tenured Guy Learns to Cook
The Tenured Guy Handles the Evidence
The Tenured Guy Goes into Orbit
The Tenured Guy: Standards for Artistic Excellence
The Tenured Guy and the Chalk-Throwing Incident
The Tenured Guy Reads His Student Evaluations
The Tenured Guy on Sabbatical
Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry
Biting Off More
DEFEAT IN THE CITY GAME
Tonight a Reckless Cyclist
Wildflowers in a Cracked Vase
The Garden State
Walking My Son Home from Preschool
Defeat in the City Game
Dream with a Train in It
The Name of the Place
Bag of Clothes
What People are Saying About This
"Like his poetic forebearersWalt Whitman, Carl Sandburg, William Carlos Williams, and Philip Levine, to name but a fewDaniels' work distinguishes itself from many of his contemporaries because of its sustained commitment to the lives of the people we most often overlook or ignore in our culture. . . . "
"Sometimes we need to read a certain kind of author because we simply have forgotten everything we knew about writing. We think we need a magic pellet, younger energy, more success, or to perform ritualsay like folding our hands and jumping off a building to get started. . . . Jim Daniels, we need you right now because we thought it was too hard to be natural while writing. . . . A real life is here. It lies behind the detail, but the detail is what we want. Jim Daniels' poems are human on the page, growing within and beyond some divine law of poetic order, far away from writers' disasters. "
"A poet adept at folding elegant, poetic cranes from the rough newsprint of everyday life."