“In a bar in Little Rock, I listen to a poet reciting his
own work and nod my head at the cadence. The man beside
me asks me if I know any poems for truck drivers these days.
“ ‘Take a look at Pablo Neruda,’ I tell him. ‘There maybe
D.A. Powell and yes, James Jay.’
“ ‘James Jay?’
“So I tell him about James Jay and his new book, The
Journeymen. Find I can actually remember some of the ‘letter
from the united states department of poetry’ and then most
of ‘The Briefly Unemployed Bouncer’. “His mind is an ’83
Dodge Colt.” My new friend laughs and nods. He once
owned a Dodge Colt. His was unreliable.
“If I could, I would give him the whole of ‘Mountain
Rivera’ but I know I would start to cry at the story—a life
that echoes the men in my family as starkly as the flattened
planes of their aging faces.
“The Journeymen is that rare thing—a book as meaty as its
subjects, as thick as silence, and as satisfying as a perfect blues
—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

“James Jay’s new collection is like the best kind of public
house where revolutionaries sit alongside prize fighters,
medieval saints and 20th century felons take shots at the bar,
and Old Angel Moonlight waits by the pool table to sweetly
sucker you with his hustle.”
—Jim Ruland, author of Big Lonesome