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Birth Marks (American Poets Continuum) Paperback – September 3, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


2014 Michigan Notable Book

Winner, 2014 Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award

Winner, Poetry Gold Medal for 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards

“Jim Daniels inspires us, his consumers, to be a bold as he is—as aware—because his torrent comes from the enthusiasm of pure spiritual power – and as much as he ridicules religion, this man writes like he has God at his back.”
Washington Independent Review of Books

"We don’t have enough contemporary writing on this topic, not of this quality, and not in the form of poetry, certainly … we need more poetry of this caliber, of this intent.”
Coal Hill Review

“Reading Jim Daniels’ poems… reminds us that we are facing a muse, a working class poet who speaks from the alleys of Detroit or the narrow country road when he crosses the country with his bike … I’m mesmerized by the poems in his latest collection, Birth Marks."
Voices de la Luna

“Daniels is playful with language, sometimes riffing on words and using free association to add a jazzy dynamic … Birth Marks is full of the poetic elements necessary for an engaging read.”
Pittsburgh City Paper

“[Jim Daniels’] poems… have sung of our daily existence, the lives of the suburban and urban, the family and the loner, the lovers and losers, the workers and the unemployed. And contained inside these songs are our most pressing moral and philosophical issues, in language as it exists in the larger culture, the hot breath of the world-right-now, and also in a voice, across fourteen collections of poems, that [he’s] somehow made all [his] own—the necessary contradiction, I think, for any great writer.” —Justin Bigos, 32 Poems Magazine

“Daniels applies overt wit throughout his poems about the various characters and the backdrops they inhabit, especially when the narrator is commenting on his own experiences.” —Newpages

“Jim Daniels is one of the nation’s finest examples of a poet and fiction writer who has been able to mine his own working class and factory roots to produce literary works that cut deep with their sensitivity and truth,” —Michigan State University's Labor Education Program

“Jim Daniels’s Birth Marks is a deeply enjoyable read. Reading it, I remembered why his is the type of poetry my favorite poets try to emulate … The poems feature characters with finely tuned emotions, and each are captured by unforgettable imagery, each rendered in a different galvanized voice.” —Poets @ Work

“[Birth Marks is] the essential handbook into the goings-on in author Jim Daniels’ life … Between dark humor and unwholesome love, the poet gives us an unblinking view of the alcoholism in his family, the struggles of the working class and the shame he has felt surrounding it all.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Place grounds us so much in how we generate writing, how we explore our words, how we articulate the home in us. Daniels reminds us not to forget how home builds us forward... This book is about home" —Passages North

“A family history of alcoholism, a dying city’s fevered baseball dreams, and an adolescence only half-remembered through a blur of narcotics, are woven together with masochistic wit, as Daniels plunges readers into a world where there is ‘Nothing to do but put it all out for the trash and start over.’” —Mid-American Review

“Here is Daniels showing he can master tight form alongside long lines, elegy alongside comedy, and at his best, everything at once.” —Mantis Review

“Employing his masterful control of language, Daniels’ new book suggests that, much as we may be ‘marked’ during our youth by the imperfections of a dissolute society, from our subsequent perspective as adults, we may view our often flawed coming-of-age experiences as the most authentic ones of our lives.” —Heavy Feather Review

About the Author

Jim Daniels’ recent books include Trigger Man: More Tales of the Motor City and Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry, winner of the Midwest Book Award. His poems have appeared widely in such places as Billy Collins' Poetry 180 anthologies, Best American Poetry anthologies, the Pushcart Prize anthologies, and Ted Kooser's "American Life in Poetry" series. 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 Tillie Olsen Prize, 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 Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, where he received the Ryan Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Teaching and Educational Service. A native of Detroit, MI, Daniels is a graduate of Alma College and Bowling Green State University. He currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with his family.

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Product Details

  • Series: American Poets Continuum (Book 139)
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: BOA Editions Ltd. (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938160169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938160165
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,440,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Before publishing my fourth collection of poems, I wanted to read an award winning poetry book to see what I can learn and perhaps use as a template. As a poet, I wasn't disappointed. But I can clearly see why poetry books don’t sell – They are hard to understand! You have to be in the right mood and the right frame of mind to really get the message being conveyed. Jim Daniels’ poetry is genuine and heartfelt. He does his background justice and lays bare the frustrations and challenges of Middle America where people struggle daily to get by. The all-pervasive permissiveness that enables aunts and uncles to be drunk and drugs and immorality to take root in society leads to unfulfilled lives, and this is brought out beautifully in much of this collection. There are several I’d count as my favorites: My Two Aunts, Love Poem with Pesticide, The Geography of Detroit.
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