Invite Cats by Jam Hale
poetry, 168 pages
Hundreds of poems were collected in the weeks following Jam’s death on April 17, 2017. Most of them were recovered from Jam’s personal digital files, some from their journals, and others were sent to us by friends. There is no way we can know if these poems were considered finished or ready to share by the author, but we exercised our best judgement in choosing almost one hundred pieces, spanning nearly a decade, that demonstrate Jam’s powerful use of language as a tool to work through the intricacies of love and pain. The sections are organized loosely by theme for ease of reading with two longer, more recent pieces included in the back.
Poetry exists between words. It expresses what prose cannot; what cannot be explained to another person, but can be shared. It is at the same time extremely personal and universal. Share these poems. Keep them to yourself. Take them with you into the mountains, hot springs, and bars that Jam loved.
Jam Hale was born in rural California in the winter of 1987 to a pastor and a homeschool teacher. After moving around, Jam spent most of their adult life in Boise, Idaho cultivating many friendships working as a coffee barista and bartender downtown, reading poems and stories at local literary events such as Death Rattle Writers Festival and Storyfort at Treefort Music Fest. Jam was a vocal anticapitalist and advocate for human rights. A sycamore tree on the bank of the Boise River is dedicated as a place for friends to gather and remember the joy and poetry that Jam brought into so many lives.
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