Jim Daniels Pens "Birth Marks," an Unflinching Look at Urban Life Through Poetry-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jim Daniels Pens "Birth Marks," an Unflinching Look at Urban Life Through Poetry

Growing up as the son and grandson of auto workers in Detroit has left an imprint on Carnegie Mellon University Professor Jim Daniels' life, and it frequently shines through the award-winning writer's work.

In his new poetry collection "Birth Marks," Daniels captures the gritty culture of working-class urban life. He uses the 39 poems to take readers on a tour of post-industrial Detroit and Pittsburgh to tell the tales of cities and their residents who came out swinging when the economy collapsed around them.

"I have always been interested in ordinary people in ordinary circumstances and the small moments in their lives that create a subtle shift in perspective," said Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Place has consistently been a big part of my work, and it is again. I hope the title 'Birth Marks' reflects this - hope we are marked by the places we come from. I try to bring these cities and people to life in a way that may make readers see beneath our cultural stereotypes."

Published by BOA Editions, Ltd., "Birth Marks" focuses on how the urban landscape affects its residents as they struggle to establish a community on streets that can easily be tainted by distrust and the threat of random violence. Topics range from parenting and addiction to baseball and music, and Daniels uses longer poems with more juxtaposition to tell sharp stories about difficult situations.

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