Jackson Poetry Prize Winner Speaks Patricia Spears Jones has been writing poetry since she was twenty and then she was “good.” Today, the prolific poet is the winner of one of the most prestigious poetry prizes–the Jackson Poetry Prize. She has numerous published collections, and A Lucent Fire, New & Collected Poems (White Pines Press, 2015), is a report on the current state of everything. “Poetry is hard work,” Jones says. Yet the job of the poet is to say something that will matter, that can improve the daily and momentary experience of living and speak back to American capitalist business when it comes to gentrification, stolen history, and racist hatred. Rachel Levistsky of Bomb Magazine writes “Jones’s poems insist on making vibrantly possible American, black, female, queer, poor, jazz, assimilated, heroic, unemployed, crazy, displaced lives that, considering the constant assault on them, can appear merely endangered and precarious.” Additionally, A Lucent Fire croons with blues and gospel, on Cuban and opera. “Her poems are full of harmony, counterpoint, rhythm, songs, and a meticulous aesthetic,” says Linda Rodriguez of La Bloga. When asked “what is Poetry?” Spear Jones suggest checking out George Quasha’s wonderful video. Spears Jones is the author of Painkiller (Tia Chucha Press, 2010), Femme du Monde (Tia Chucha Press, 2006), and The Weather That Kills (Coffee House Press, 1995). She has been the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Goethe Institute, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. A resident of New York City since the 1970s, Spears Jones currently serves as a fellow of the Black Earth Institute and has long been involved with the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. She has taught at Cave Canem, Parsons School of Design, The New School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Naropa University, and she currently teaches at CUNY.