Wiping Stars from Your Sleeves
poems by David James
With the first part written in the United States and the second part written in Ireland, Wiping Stars from Your Sleeves is an exploration of how the environment and culture affect a poet as he writes about love, aging, and the world rising up around him.
POETRY / General
ISBN: 978-1-951651-97-8 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Released September 2021
David James lives in a two-light town in mid-Michigan with his wife of forty-three years. Blessed to have three children and six grandchildren, he teaches writing for Oakland Community College. James has published five full-length books, six chapbooks, and has had over thirty of his one-act plays produced in the U.S. and Ireland.
“This new collection of poems from David James has it all, from his trademark bravado absurdism to heart-on-the-sleeve love poems. The latter, especially, make this book a real achievement. Set within a sojourn to Ireland, James gives praise not just to the tender moment (and place), but to the years spent in what Wendell Berry called ‘The Country of Marriage.’ When the definitive anthology of twenty-first-century love poems is published, I believe James’s ‘The Long Fall,’ ‘Blueprint,’ and others will be included because they’re poems that shine, that can’t be wiped away.”
“This is a book of tribute. To poets who have been carefully read. To the ‘blessings rising up like roses/at my fingertips.’ To children and grandchildren who will find themselves here, among other things, eating chocolate smoothies for dinner. These poems are tributes to friends, nature, god, and the greatness of love. This book is an anthem to time, where the poet shows us how we can ‘finally [rise] up on two feet to demand full control.’ I feel like I need to carry this book with me, to dip into its open heart and hear its clever phrasings, its sweet singing.”
“In Wiping Stars from Your Sleeves, David James details life at his home in Michigan and a cottage near the coast in Ireland and the landscapes and features of each, expressing the joys of an almost half-century marriage in clear and unadorned language. The poems derive their power from honesty and the hard-won wisdom that tries ‘to keep these moments, to carve each memory on some sacred scroll.’ Spanning a range of tones from solemnity to lightheartedness, this collection is alive with the sense of the mystery of being in the world, insisting “the Holy Land was the here and now,” and “like these days washing over my grateful soul,” it leaves readers refreshed and renewed.”
Peter McDermott, “Alive with the Sense of Mystery,” The Irish Echo, April 22, 2022
Kathleen Kirk, “Book Review: Wiping Stars from Your Sleeves,” Escape into Life, January 2022
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