The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages

by Jim Daniels


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Poetry. "As prolific as he is talented, Jim Daniels gets my vote for 'the hardest-working man in poetry.' His poems are honest, straightforward, full of insight, wit, and good will, and grounded firmly in the human and humane. THE MIDDLE AGES finds him back at work in the mines of daily life where, as he has done for years, he extracts, for our enjoyment, nugget after nugget, gem after gem."—Charles Harper Webb

"Jim Daniels is a masterpoet of dry wit and skeptical whimsy as he navigates THE MIDDLE AGES in his latest collection of poems. Here are meditations on fatherhood and fathering, on growing older—but not necessarily wiser—on marriage and loss, surgery and depression. Humor is a survival strategy for this poet, and he employs it with panache and empathy, remembering the past but not deifying it, looking to the future with rue and a touch of resignation. Daniels' poems take everything in—all our foibles and failings, our loves and refusals—and make all of it memorable, tinged with regret, but still ours, still meaningful, still worth the work and grit of poetry."—Allison Joseph

"THE MIDDLE AGES is a meditation on America's power and vulnerability in Pittsburgh, in Doha, in Michigan's U.P. Jim Daniels is a generous, inventive poet with great emotional range and insight. He is at home writing poems about home—the domestic space, child-rearing, marriage, aging, ambition—with honesty, intimacy, and grace. He is also a poet of the world—a witness to war, poverty, political absurdities, and impending obliteration, asking 'What happened to shame, / good old American shame?' Read this book and find out. Jim Daniels is humorous, provocative, and smart—an American treasure."—Denise Duhamel

"Rueful and sweet, these poems remind us that it's the dark aspect of life that makes the bright so lovely we can hardly bear it. Many of the most moving lines are about teenagers, clumsy, speechless 14- and 15-year- olds who will one day be as wise and compassionate as the poet himself. Actually, these poems tell us we're all teens, in a way, all growing daily into a beauty uniquely our own."—David Kirby

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780998514024
Publisher: Red Mountain Press
Publication date: 03/01/2018
Pages: 92
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Jim Daniels' books have won the Milton Kessler Award, two Poetry Gold Medals in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, the Tillie Olsen Prize, Blue Lynx Prize, Brittingham Prize, and others. His fifth book of fiction, Eight Mile High, was a Michigan Notable Book and a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize. The End of Blessings, his fourth short film, appeared in numerous film festivals. His poems accompanying the photographs of Charlee Brodsky have been exhibited in various galleries, and his poem Factory Love is displayed on the roof of a racecar. He has been featured on Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, in Billy Collins' Poetry 180 anthologies, and Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry series. A native of Detroit, Daniels is the Thomas Stockham University Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Table of Contents

Aftershocks 7

Holy Water 15

Solstice with Raspberry 16

Thimbleberries 17

String, January, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh 18

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 19

In Case of Emergency 20

Middle Ages 21

Safety Lines, Schenley Park 22

Urban Explorers, Schenley Park 23

Sleep/Balm 24

Small Talk 25

On Our Answering Machine Bob Plays the Harmonica 26

Man with Child, May 27

Last night I drove my son home 28

Good Teeth, Spring Break 29

Photo Ops: Where Empathy Begins 31

Growth Chart 32

Idiot's Guide to Genius-Hood 35

Heat of Departure 41

Update on/Elegy for the Here and Now 42

The Alone-Doors 43

Lighten Up, but Watch Your Head 45

I want to be in a club named for an animal 46

Hearing Loss in Late Middle Age 47

The Middle Ages 48

Slicing Celery 49

Yelling Fire 50

The Predictable Nature of Tragedy 52

Horizontal Hold 53

I Love Dirty Pussy graffitied 54

After the empty wine bottles 55

Brushing teeth with my sister after the wake 56

Taking Painkillers After Surgery 57

On Seeing an Aerial View of the Peace March 61

A Brief History of Evolution 67

The Symmetry of Depression 68

Slight 69

Teaching the Spider to Fly 70

Jim Daniels Misses His Ten-Cent Tip as He Prepares for an Unpleasant Meeting 71

Thrashing 72

Museum of Betrayal 74

Annual Migration of Melancholy Birds 75

Fill Out Survey for Your Chance to Win 76

The Sleep Machine Cometh 77

Shroud of Turin 79

Tough Guys on Facebook 80

The Hardening of the American Heart 81

Jimi Hendrix, National Anthem 82

Turned 83

Filling Out the Health Evaluation Questionaire 84

0° and with Wind Chill It Feels Like 0° 86

Smelling the Grief 87

We should all touch ourselves 88

Nevertheless 89

About the Author 90

Acknowledgments 91

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