Slate Roof Press


Crossing the bar

Price: $11.00
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 &
had a whiskey
proud tongue
now it's

in prayer

seasons of
tape & glass
bend over
sleep like mist
in grieved

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

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
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.