The ghost behind these haunted and haunting poems is the bittersweet and stunningly detailed memory of his formative years in blue-collar Detroit, echoed sometimes in his present home of Pittsburgh. The latter (much less the former) isn’t Paris, he admits, but then, “Fuck Paris.” With The Human Engine at Dawn, Jim Daniels remains among this country’s most gifted and engaging poets.
—William Trowbridge, author of Call Me Fool
Jim Daniels. Singer of the broken city. Ishmael of lost families and foundered dreams. Virgil of what he calls “our poorly wired world.” These poems are deep dives into Daniels’ past, and a past Detroit. The portraits of his mother and father are unforgettable, both for their blunt, unsentimental honesty and their tenderness. Again and again Daniels manages to unearth bright shards of beauty in the bleak alleyways and poverty-haunted streets of the city. And there’s an ode here to his father’s bowling ball that will knock you down, that will roll you right back to the smoky, beer-soaked heart of the last century. The Human Engine at Dawn, in its dark and lyrical urgency, reminds me of why I came to poetry in the first place.
—George Bilgere, author of Central Air
About the Author
Jim Daniels’ latest books include Gun/Shy (poetry), The Perp Walk (fiction), and the anthology RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music (coedited with M. L. Liebler). A native of Detroit, he lives in Pittsburgh and teaches in the Alma College low-residency MFA program.