Crossing the Bar

by Jim Bell


Price:  $11.00
Chapbook
Letterpress Cover
Handsewn Binding
ISBN: 0-9760643-1-6

Crossing the Bar, Jim Bell


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Crossing the Bar

god’s grace
is this thick
grip &
patient
shoulder
blades
     i
had a whiskey
proud tongue
now it’s
     vaulting

in prayer
     &

seasons of
tape & glass
 fiber
bend over
    towering
sleep   like mist
in grieved
eyes
     how

my religion
is this walk
back over
torn sod
   of a playing
field

 
Jim Bell's Crossing the Bar is a brilliantly athletic and vigorous collection in which his poems are the poles that lift both him and his readers from gritty difficulties, honestly portrayed, into a livable present. "I am everything," he writes, "and my words sing like bullets." In another poem he asserts, "i find myself rugged in soft places," an apt description of his powerful, carefully crafted poetry.

Bell's language, spare and muscular, is perfectly tuned to his content. Having crossed the bar with him, one feels more confidence in the resilience of the human spirit and more convinced of the power of original language to embody that spirit and carry us forward.

--Genie Zeiger, Leaving Egypt

Jim Bell's poetry is transparent: it gives the reader direct access to experience. Only secondarily, almost as an afterthought, do you discover the crafty brilliance that got you there--the skill with image and line and sound. Even when they seem to defy paraphrase, these poems get through, reminding us of T.S. Eliot's dictum that "genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." Jim Bell's poems wake up your senses and remind you to pay attention. They shock you back to life.

--Jan Frazier, Jan Frazier's Greatest Hits


Jim Bell lives in Bernardston, MA. He is a Track & Field coach. His poems have been published in Aethlon, Peregrine, Concrete Wolf, and 5-Minute Pieces (Arms Library, Shelburne Falls, MA 1998). Poems and pole vaulting are his passions.