Wedding Cake and Funeral Ham

Grizzly Press, 2002


The poetry in Wedding Cake and Funeral Ham is blue collar — unflinching and unapologetic. With a photographer’s eye and clear vision, Reese reaches straight for the place that has always kept the working class honest — the heart. — from the jacket.

Jim Reese is a poet on a mission. A stranger in a strange land, he encounters a grotesque collection of sinners and maybe one or two saints. The surprise is that what and how Reese tells of them can so often be both true and beautiful. – JV Brummels

Jim Reese comes out of the chute riding hard. This new collection is a wild romp across the hard-scrabble plains of contemporary poetry. Let ‘im buck! – Jonis Agee

The language in these poems fits like the old shoes you keep kicking yourself for getting rid of. Tough country. Tough people. And Reese treats them, himself included, with tough compassion. – William Kloefkorn

I’ve been wrestling with Jim Reese and his poems since I was collecting material for the first volume of Plains Song Review in 1999. His poems and stories were gritty and crazy, showing a side of rural life that people oftentimes aren’t sober enough to write about. Reese’s poems in Wedding Cake and Funeral Ham follow in that same tradition. … Reese writes from a sure-footed point of view, taking the reader right into the heart of the scene or conversation without much unnecessary or cluttering set-up. … very cool in a Jack Kerouac kind of way. – Lincoln Journal-Star

Speaking of poetry, the spring issue of the Plains Song Review is now available. Published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska — Lincoln, the 64-page volume ($7) contains many wonderful photographs and poems that explore Nebraska’s sense of place. Edited by Margaret Rine, the spring issue is chock-full of diverse voices and images that contribute to our understanding of Nebraska and our place on these Great Plains. Many local writers and poets, including Deborah T McGinn, Marjorie Saiser, Marilyn Dorf and Jim Reese, to name just a few, contributed works to this stellar issue. – Lincoln Journal Star, July 9, 2002

I liked the colloquial feel of the poem. It was story like, and not pretentious in the least. … Wonderful in its embracing of the bucolic. … Imaginative and simple. Absolutely memorable! – Stirring Summer 2003

Wedding Cake and Funeral Ham: