The Last Miles


“The intelligence, sensitivity and humor of these poems are a gift to the reader. In the tradition of Langston Hughes, J.D. Scrimgeour writes with the pioneering spirit of a jazz musician. His work travels from Normal, Illinois to Greece to Salem, Massachusetts and takes place over one hundred years. The poems are precise and powerful, but it is the range that is extraordinary; there has never been a wider cast of characters in a book of poetry. We meet adolescent baseball players, a Greek grandmother, a father who is a poet, street people in Salem, two infant boys, and many more. Wasn’t this Whitman’s dream: to reveal the miraculous power of the ordinary man? J.D. Scrimgeour’s America is composed of people we might walk past, unless, like this poet, we stop and listen to what they have to tell us.” – Charlotte Gordon, author of Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter, Mary Shelley


“These poems scrutinize, celebrate and rue the comings and goings that mark the lives of individuals and cities and nations. They overturn the easy assumptions in favor of a gaze that is clear-eyed but compassionate. J.D. Scrimgeour’s sheer honesty is moving and, in its way, beautiful.” — Baron Wormser

“The son of a poet, Scrimgeour has the ambition to tackle big themes—not just love and death, but the unbearable gap between the joy of some and the suffering of others—while eschewing even the slightest whiff of poetic overreaching. He can handle long narrative poems or composite sketches of place, and make himself as real to us as a character in a novel—that is, someone who’s more vivid to us than we often are within our own lives. If these poems are as lucid as good prose, they have a subtle skip to their step too—as if the poet’s on the way to the courts where the guys he plays pickup with would recognize him as the genuine article, a real player. One of the most readable and moving collections I’ve come across in many a year.” —Alan Feldman

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