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The Beloved Community
Patricia Spears Jones


In her fifth poetry collection, The Beloved Community, Jackson Poetry Prize–winner Patricia Spears Jones interrogates the necessity and fragility of human bonds: sensual, familial, societal. From lyric to elegy, far-reaching poems use wordplay and metaphor to create richly textured landscapes in search of community. As we traverse delis, laundromats, and the Brooklyn block where morning glories grow “leaves plump as Italian cookies,” poems about poverty, art, and community become poems about location—always the city is alive and breathing. Later, the collection widens its view, leaving Brooklyn to visit the consequences of violence across America. From the Atlanta Child Murders to the murder of Nia Wilson, The Beloved Community is fearless in its rage and hope as it explores what disrupts—oppression, injustice, loss, grief, and a fraught sense of the erotic. Largely dedicated to musicians, artists, and fellow poets, Jones acknowledges art as a tool for both care and resistance, recognizing that “voice is our greatest magic.” Imbued with history, laced with tenderness, and channeling a long tradition of the blues in African American poetics, The Beloved Community speaks with spark and urgency


Patricia Spears Jones is a poet, playwright, anthologist, educator, and cultural activist. She is the winner of the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers and the author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems. Her work is anthologized in African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and SongOf Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin; and BAX 2016: Best American Experimental Writing. Her poems have been published in The New YorkerThe Brooklyn RailThe Ocean State ReviewMs., and Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts. Patricia Spears Jones edited THINK: Poems for Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day Hat and Ordinary Women: An Anthology of New York City Women. Mabou Mines commissioned and produced her plays Mother and Song for New York: What Women Do While Men Sit Knitting. Patricia Spears Jones co-curated the Wednesday Night Series for St. Mark’s Church Poetry Project. She has taught graduate and undergraduate creative writing at Hollins University, Adelphi University, Hunter College, and Barnard College. She leads poetry workshops for the 92nd Street Y, The Workroom, Hugo House, Community of Writers, Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, Gemini Ink, and Brooklyn Poets. She organizes the American Poets Congress and is a Senior Fellow Emeritus of the Black Earth Institute.


“These poems could easily sag under the weight of their grief, yet Jones’ short, sharp-talking lines, staccato sentences, and light-on-feet litanies propel the reader down the paths she has paved. ” -- Arden Levine, Under a Warm Green Linden

“Spears Jones’s imagistic internationalist, docu-political sentences resemble conversation but stop you in your tracks.” -- Diane Mehta, Electric Lit

[P]  Copper Canyon Press  /  September 28, 2023

0.4" H x 8.9" L x 5.8" W (0.35 lbs) 98 pages