As a writer, Jim Daniels, a 1978 graduate of Alma College, has authored 28 collections of poetry, six collections of fiction and four produced screenplays. He has also edited or coedited six anthologies of writing. Daniels is a recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and two from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His books have won three Michigan Notable Book Awards, the Brittingham Prize for Poetry, the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry, the Tillie Olsen Creative Writing Award, the Milton Kessler Award, and three Gold Medals in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, among others, and his films have won many awards in film festivals around the world.
His work has been published in The Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize volumes. He has read his poetry on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion,” and his poems have been frequently featured on Keillor’s “Writer’s Almanac.” Poet laureates Billy Collins, Ted Kooser and Tracy K. Smith have all showcased his writing as part of their work to bring poetry to average Americans: in Collins’ Poetry 180 anthologies, Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” series, and on Smith’s poetry podcast, “The Slowdown.”
During his long career, he has warmed up for singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, had his poem “Factory Love” displayed on a race car, and is sending poetry to the moon in 2021 as part of the Moon Arts Project. A native of Detroit, he currently lives in Pittsburgh, where he is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English. At Carnegie Mellon University, he has received the Ryan Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Teaching and Educational Service, the Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach, and the Faculty Service Award from the Alumni Association.