Born and raised in Arkansas, PATRICIA
SPEARS JONES aka Patricia Jones has lived in New York City since
the mid-1970s where she has been involved in the city's poetry and
theater scenes as poet, editor, anthologist, teacher and former
Program Coordinator for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and Mabou Mines, the internationally acclaimed theater
collective which is celebrating its 40th year. Join my
Facebook author's page
Other pages devoted to my work are
2012 started with readings at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church and then commenced with panels, readings and events at the 2012 AWP Conference and Bookfair in Chicago. I had my first-ever author's signing at the Tia Chucha table. Like last year's many activities, I remain engaged with the poetry community and please to travel and meet readers. Last year's reading for the Painted Words series at UVM, Burlington, VT. is posted at http://vimeo.com/20423473 . A more bohemian space, Tribes Gallery posted a recent multi-poets' reading that included a brief reading of newer poems: http://www.tribes.org/web/2012/03/08/occupy-tribes-now-reading-part-1-2/. Fordham University's Poets Out Loud opened its 20th year with a reading by Jones and Edwin Torres. POL's importance to the University and to Lincoln Center is discussed at http://www.fordham.edu/campus_resources/enewsroom/inside_fordham/october_24_2011/news/poetrys_seed_takes_r_80371.asp. For 2011 National Poetry Month, Jones was guest blogger for http://thebasinblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/poets-all-over-the-place-or-o-my-o/. She has also started regularly blogging for http://www.cultureID.com focusing on culture at large.
In 2011, a third chapbook, Swimming to America inaugurated Red Glass Books started by poet, Janet Kaplan, www.janetkaplan-litworks.com, quickly sold out. My third full-length collection, Painkiller was released by Tia Chucha Press, www.tiachucha.com in November, 2010. Scott Hightower offered a deeply generous and sensitive review of Painkiller at http://foggedclarity.com/2011/01/review-patricia-spears-jones-painkiller/. Anselm Berrigan says of the poems in Painkiller: "They sing the complexities of our time and condition with acute, often heart-breaking candor and wit, and are built to be returned to, for beauty and for use inside the details of daily, unfiltered living." Erica Hunt says, "This is a ferocious and courageous collection . . " It was on Bob Holman/Margery Snyder's 2010 Best Poetry Books List at http://poetry.about.com/od/poetrybooks/tp/Poetry-Picks-The-Best-Books-Of-2010.02.htm .Sarah Sarai commented on the collection in her blog: http://my3000lovingarms.blogspot.com/2010/11/patricia-spears-jones-painkiller.html. Women's Voices for Change and Split This Rock both recommended Painkiller on their holiday gift lists. See http://womensvoicesforchange.org/poetry-friday-interview-with-patricia-spears-jones.htm .
Painkiller joins The Weather That Kills published by Coffee House Press (1995) and Femme du Monde also from Tia Chucha Press (2006) and two chapbooks: repuestas! (Belladonna, 2007) and Mythologizing Always (Telephone Books, 1981) both chapbooks are also out of print. .
Of Femme du Monde, Janet Hamill has said "I was thoroughly seduced by Femme du Monde, by the grit and blood, wit, flesh, bone, and spirit of which the poems are made. From the particular they move to the universal, effortlessly. From the body they dissolve into space. The world they reference is mundane. The world they reference is marvelous. The senses perceive, the poet distills, and life is reduced to a healing elixir." Femme du Monde is on Poets & Writers' 2009 Summer Reading List at http://www.pw.org/content/summer_reading_list. Other positive reviews for Femme du Monde can be found in Black Issues Book Review (Tara Betts), Barrow Street (Scott Hightower), Small Press Review (Thad Rutkowski), The Poetry Project Newsletter (Greg Fuchs) and at www.tribes.org (Soraya Shalforoosh). "Jim" from this volume is up on http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19178 , website for the Academy of American Poets.
JOURNALS, ANTHOLOGIES, PLAYS, COLLABORATIONS
In 2009, Jones organized and edited: Think: Poems for Aretha Franklin's Inauguration Day Hat at http://bombsite.powweb.com/?p=2944. She co-edited the ground-breaking, multi-cultural anthology, Ordinary Women: Poems by New York City Women with Fay Chiang, Sandra Maria Esteves and Sara Miles from 1978. Both contributed to and participated in 100 Days/100 Poems at http://100dayspoems.blogspot.com which was published as Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama's First 100 Days, University of Iowa Press in 2010. I also served on an AWP panel in Denver organized by Rachel Zucker responding to questions raised by the poetry in the anthology.
Journal publications include: Reverie: Midwest African American Literature in which two poems, “(subsequent to Thomas Sayers Ellis)” and “Jimi Hendrix sings Burning the Midnight Lamp” were nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Bomb, No. 113, Fall 2010, Tuesday: An Art Project; and online at O Sweet Flowery Roses, http://osfrjournal.blogspot.com. In 2009, poems were featured in Downtown Brooklyn; The Same; The Southampton Review and for the launch of www.KweliJournal.com. "Autumn New York, 1999" was picked as poem of the week by Split This Rock at http://blogthisrock.blogspot.com/search/label/Poem%20of%20the%20Week.
Poetry is in Angles of Ascent (forthcoming January 2013); Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy for University of Georgia Press was recently nominated for a NAACP Image Award. Other poems are anthologized in Temba Tupu!: The Africana Woman's Poetic Self-Portrait; broken land: Poems of Brooklyn; Bowery Women: Poems; Jazz Poems; Poetry After 911; bum rush-the page, a defpoetry jam; Best American Poetry, 2000; Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, The Woman That I Am: The Literature and Culture of Contemporary Women of Color' and Black Sister.
Her play ‘Mother’ was commissioned and produced by Mabou Mines in 1994 with music by Carter Burwell. A second collaboration with Mabou Mines entitled Song for New York: What Women Do When Men Sit Knitting with composer Lisa Gutkin and four other poets was performed in New York from Aug. 31-Sep. 9, 2007. See www.maboumines.org. "The Brooklyn Song" is on The Brooklyn Rail, www.brooklynrail.org/2007/10/poetry/the-brooklyn-song.
She is a Contributing Editor of Bomb Magazine.. Her pedagogical essay, “Experience, Experiment: Using Black Poetry in Creative Writing Classes” is anthologized in Sing the Sun Up: Creative Writing Ideas from African American Literature edited by Lorenzo Thomas. She has also conducted oral history interviews with elder Black visual artists for The Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art.
Other collaborations included performances with Jason Hwang at the 2009 Vision Festival and 2010 for the Evolving Vocals series organized by Art for Art's Sake. ; during the 1970s and 1980s with Lenora Champagne and Cindy Carr; Carolee Schneemann, and in theater works directed by Bob Holman. In the 2lst century her work is part of www.sandrapayne.com, a web page of award winning African American artist, Sandra Payne.
2008 was an active year for both print and electronic journal publications including featured work in The Oxford American, Southern Music Issue #10; Barrow Street 10th Anniversary issue; http://jacketmagazine.com/32/holiday-album.shtm ed. by Elaine Equi; Columbia Poetry Review #21; The Black Scholar; http://www.naropa.edu/notenoughnight/; PMS #8, guest ed. by Honoree Jeffers, Court Green (the Sylvia Plath Dossier). Other journal publications include: Bomb, Black Renaissance Noire, TriQuarterly, Rattapallax 12, nocturnes 3, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Court Green, Warpland, www.mipoesias.com; 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, Telephone, Agni, Callaloo, Hanging Loose, The American Voice, IKON, Ploughshares, www.poetz.com, The World, The Recluse #3,and Crazy Horse. "All Saints Day" was translated into Czech by poet, translator and musician, Pavla Jonssonova.
ARTS WRITING AND CULTURAL COMMENTARY
Arts writing has gravitated towards the web where she blogs for cultureID, most recently, http://www.cultureid.com/content/stargazer-elizabeth-catlett-in-the-stride, a look at the Elizabeth Catlett exhibition at the Bronx Museum of Art. Jones has written articles and catalogue essays on the following visual artists: Yinka Shonibare, Zwele Mthathwa, Richard E.Powell, Jane Dickson, Rhonda Schaller, William Allen and Barbara Westermann. She interviewed the African American artist, Lorenzo Pace, for a BOMBlive event which was aired on WPS1, and clips from the interview are at http://www.bombsite.com/issues/0/articles/3009 and up on YouTube. In 2006, she produced a journal (now archived) for The Poetry Foundation's online site: www.poetryfoundation.org.
She will be teaching a more detailed Basic and Bold Writing Worksho for Manhattanville College's Summer Writers' Week, June 27-July 1, 2011. Details at www.manhattanville.edu. She has taught at Parsons School of Design, New School University; Cave Canem New York Regional Workshops; Naropa University; and Sarah Lawrence College. At the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church, she taught a workshop" Basic and Bold" for practicing writers and at the Solstice Creative Writing Conference at Pine Manor College, www.pmc.edu in June 2008.
Now a Senior Fellow of The Black Earth Institute, www.blackearthinstitute.org, she attends annual gatherings. As a Fellow, she served on a panel at the 2010 Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C. She presented on the AWP panel “Writing In(to) the Age of Obama: Poetry, Politics and the People". In March 2008, she moderated a poetry panel at the 9th National Black Writers Conference at Medgar Evers College, see www.mec.cuny.edu/blacklitcenter. She participated in the Yari Yari and Yari Yari Pambieri conferences at NYU and moderated the panel, “Art as a Weapon” at Medgar Evers College in 2004. In 2009, she hosted a series of conversations between leading authors of the African Diaspora including Ishmael Reed and Lucille Clifton *her last public event in New York City) at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She also participated in the Writers on Writing Program at Long Island University.
In 2008, she was appointed as a Fellow to the Black Earth Institute, a progressive "think tank of artists, scholars and activists, and was elected as a Fellow to Council for the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in 2007. She has served as a juror for three NYFA Poetry Fellowship panels; for the 2002 Poetry in Translation Prize from P.E.N. American Center; and as a panelist for the Literature Program of the New York State Council on the Arts.
She has performed and/or held workshops at a range of venues such as The New York Botanical Garden, University of Vermont, San Francisco State University's Poetry Center, The California College of Art, The Arkansas Literary Festival, Barnes & Noble at Astor Place, Lesley University, Columbia College in Chicago, Chicago State University, Woodland Pattern, Fordham University, Poets Out Loud series; University Rhode Island Read/Write series; Bread Loaf, Hollins University, Rhodes College, Intersection, Just Buffalo, St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Poets House, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nuyorican Poets Café, the Bowery Poetry Club, McNally Robinson Bookstore, the University of Kansas at Lawrence, the Center for Book Arts, the Envision Festival at Bard College, University of Rhode Island, and the Studio Museum of Harlem.
GRANTS AND PRIZES
She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Goethe Institute for travel and research in Germany. Green Integer selected her for The PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English 2005-2006 . Agni selected “Sapphire” as an honorable mention for the Anne Sexton Poetry Prize in 2000. She has received fellowships to Yaddo, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.
Portrait photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis; Literary Festival photo-Glenn Nishimura