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.
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