Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: Rowing Inland

Rowing Inland Rowing Inland by Jim Daniels
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These poems are very place-based, from Jim Daniels' childhood up through experiences as a teen and adult, in a Detroit already headed toward obliteration. Imagine Eminem's uncle, living a few streets up from 8 Mile, his parents hard-working factory workers, and that seems about right.

As I was going through the collection, I found something to like on almost every page. So here are some of the top highlights:

Welcome to Warren
III. Hidden Beauty

"This won't hurt. It'll just
kill you. On this church
I shall build my rock.
Upsidedownville is conducting
a recount, demanding the beer
and the chair, offering only
the Elusive Smirk in exchange...."

And how's this for a childhood:
Welcome to Warren
VI. The End of Childhood

"The gentle stench of poisoned weeds
the absence of stately trees, adult supervision
wide, flat factories
and the chemical tar of their parking lots.
Gearless bicycles and greasy rags
and rolled-up T-shirts, the foreign tenderness
of girls we shied away from, then dreamt about...."

Crayola Trailer Park Eight-Pack
"....Prayer: subtle opaque blue murmur.
Creates mirages. Erases as it goes."

Quitting the Day Job in the Middle Ages
"...Here in the Rust Belt of the Flyover States

I fill out my forms, press hard
on my memorized numbers.

That sound you hear is either
the sound of the drain sucking down

the last bit of moisture
or milk telling lies to my cereal."

You can see the poet read from this collection on YouTube.

(Thanks to the publisher for sending an eGalley through Edelweiss, which I saved for National Poetry Month.)

View all my reviews

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