Book of Grass
Foreword by William Kloefkorn
These new poems reveal Jim Brummels at his best, and that is damned good indeed. They are at times bawdy, at times humorous, at times philosophical, but always refreshingly well-sustained. Time and again they suggest that the poet understands and accepts that animal and human existence often parallel each other, each adjusting, adapting, doing whatever must be done to sustain its life. I’d say that at heart Brummels is a rancher, and he is; but at heart he is also a gypsy who cannot resist the urge to go beyond that place he has sunk his roots so deeply into – “to find where / in the journey / the adventure is.” And I’d add that he is a clear-eyed realist, and a teacher, one who lives not only in the classroom and on the land, but who is likewise of them. Alongside his students he is a learner, and the boots he wears more often than not have manure on them. His language derives from both the muck and the sweet clover he walks through. Mare heat. Milk-mild. Pigeyes. Wracked cowlot fences. When the drought finally breaks, he stands outside tasting the rain: “My tongue swelled with it, / and my lips moved as if to nurse.” And finally, at heart, Brummels is all heart, which means that in this “dense history of evolution” he does not neglect or forget those friends who suddenly disappear into the timeless maw of death. “I stand in weather atop my world. / The moon showers me with generous light. / In the distance the city my friend left behind / sends its industrial glare into the sky.” The friend is quietly and eloquently remembered. He is one of many stories of grass, one who has sprouted and grown and turned from green to brown and, when the time seemed right, reappeared, thanks to a poet who cares enough to make the miracle happen.