Jim Daniels

April 14, 2000
Jim Daniels

A native of Warren, Michigan, a working-class suburb less than a mile from Detroit, Jim Daniels' poetry reflects the physicality of manual labor, the noises and smells of machine shops and factories, the metallic glint of polished steel and iron. His first two poetry collections, Places/Everyone and Punching Out, set in Detroit neighborhoods and factories, have been described as realistic, gritty, and sometimes violent, but were praised for their tough, spare style and unsentimental portrayal of working people's lives. His third book, M-80, centers on urban violence and its after-effects, while his more recent books, Niagara Falls, Blessing this House, and Blue Jesus changed course with their issues of faith. He has edited or co-edited four anthologies of poetry, including Letters to America: Contemporary American Poetry on Race, and American Poetry: The Next Generation. Daniels also wrote the screenplay for "No Pets," an independent feature film directed by Tony Buba, and wrote "Heart of Hearts," a one-act play produced at the 13th Street Repertory Theater in New York. His most recent works include: Street, a collection of poems paired with the photos of photographer and Carnegie Mellon professor Charlee Brodsky; and Dumpster, an independent feature film Daniels wrote and produced, both of which appeared in 2005.


He is the author of eight books of poems, including Show and Tell: New and Selected Poems, which was a finalist for the 2004 Paterson Poetry Prize. Daniels' second book of short stories, Detroit Tales, received a bronze medal for the 2004 ForeWord Book of the Year in the fiction-short stories category. Places/Everyone won the Brittingham Prize for Poetry from the University of Wisconsin Press. Daniels' other awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and two from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has also received a Pushcart Prize and was included in Best American Poetry 2000.

Educated at Alma College and Bowling Green State University, Daniels is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Carnegie-Mellon University. Jim Daniels lives with his wife, the writer Kristin Kovacic, and their two children, Ramsey and Rosalie, in Pittsburgh.

"Jim Daniels writes with grace and unsentimental sympathy about ordinary, hard- edged lives, their celebrations and failures and strivings. There is a world of dreams beneath the skin of even the toughest city. Detroit Tales maps it beautifully." —Jean Thompson, author of Wide Blue Yonder

To view Special Collections' holdings of Jim Daniels' work, please click here.

To hear Daniels read from his own work, please visit the Vincent Voice Library, here.

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Last Updated: March 12, 2010