Critiques

Review Excerpts:

Small Press Review
"The poems here reveal a poet who listens as well as speaks; he has heard the voices of the land and its dying people. He has been there and presents us with its ethos and its flesh. To read these poems is to experience a cleansing of the jaded, over-taxed sensibility we have come to lug everywhere . . . These are consummate poems, words so closely felt and offered with such care that one is charmend, literally, with their depth and genuineness."

Western American Literature
"Only when the poems reveal the particularity of their modern language can they afford to take on the symbolic atmosphere with which they are so explosively charged. The result is an honest, informative probe into a contradictory world full of cruelty and changing beauty where two cultures remain utterly divided."

Sunday Clothes
"NOTES FROM CUSTER is not just about a town, or country, or peculiar civilization . . . Heynen has taken a long look at an area he, too, once inhabited, and the result is some of the best poetry I've read in a long time."
Linda Hasselstrom

Slackwater Review
"Jim Heynen's first book-length collection of poems, NOTES FROM CUSTER, dares to undertake one of the most important and crucial tasks of Western American Writers, the debunking of a flagrantly invalid mythology. The challenge is one which few writers will even acknowledge, much less accept . . . the book's vision out-powers any to have come from the Anglo tongue since the publication of Dee Brown's BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE."
James Hepworth

Northwest Review
"This is not your pleasant book of verse. The book hurts. It dazzles. The setting is South Dakota: The Black Hills, the Pine Ridge Reservation, Wounded Knee, and Custer, its cafes, gas stations, and interminable soouvenir shops full of grotesque products of assimilation.
"The Falcon/Her Dreams" is a looping fugue of a poem . . . It's the kind of poem poets only attempt on a serious dare or during some moment of frenzied consciousness. In it, we are in the primal region of nests, rocks, egg shells, bone, ash . . . The falcon is sight itself, eternal witness to the sway and shuffle of the world, creator/destroyer for whom 'everything's sacred.' The language is tuned to a very clear pitch, what Pound called melopoeia, words infused with music and charged beyond their plain meaning by that music . . . This book will stand as an important and lasting work by a poet who knows who we are and where we're headed." Ed Harkness
-- jh