Jim Daniels in Poetry and Prose

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Jim Daniels in Prose and Poetry There is a different kind of compression and tension between the lines of prose and in the poetry of Jim Ray Daniels, but the emotional resonance, the sense of urgency in the subject matter, succeeds “[t]o reproduce truth and the reality of life correctly and powerfully” which, as aptly put by Ivan Turgenev, “is the greatest happiness for an author.” “Middle of the Mitten,” a short story in the collection Detroit Tales, is a humorous and serious story of survivors. Rites of passage are forged through a landscape of sexual excess and sexual abstinence in the social milieu of college life, an artificial culture that society provides for those who make the grade, who have the funds, who can afford to stay out of the work force long enough to get a degree. While most of Daniels’ characters are lower middle class, blue collar workers, Avery is the exception, he is a college student. “Middle of the Mitten” is set in a small college town in mid-state Michigan, instead of an industrial city like Detroit. The college is named Alba, which means dawn in Spanish, and Dawn is the name of the woman who opens up to Avery in a platonic friendship that most likely turns sexual in the pages right after the story ends. The thing about short stories that give them longevity is that the reader is introduced to characters in the middle of the action of their complex lives, and one’s imagination fills in after the writer closes the narrative. Humor is provided in “Middle of the Mitten” by the antics of the poopy dog, Max, although Max is a serious dog, he is perceived as humorous and is also perceived as heroic when he saves his master from a beating. Max, the dog, is a substitute for the life force of Avery’s best friend, Max, who committed suicide right after high school. Avery is a lovable misfit. His high school sweetheart dumps him just
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