Prelude to Bruise: Poetry | Saeed Jones
124 pages | Coffee House Press | 9.9.14
With rootless cosmopolitanism, formal rigor, and the fluidity of slam, Jones explores questions of sexuality, race, and shifting identity.
It's a big book, a major book. A game-changer. Dazzling, brutal, real. Not just brilliant, caustic, and impassioned but a work that brings history--in which the personal and political are inter-constitutive--to the immediate moment. Jones takes a reader deep into lived experience, into a charged world divided among unstable yet entrenched lines: racial, gendered, political, sexual, familial. Here we absorb each quiet resistance, each whoop of joy, a knowledge of violence and of desire, an unbearable ache/loss/yearning. This is not just a 'new voice' but a new song, a new way of singing, a new music made of deep grief's wildfire, of burning intelligence and of all-feeling heart, scorched and seared. In a poem, Jones says, 'Boy's body is a song only he can hear.' But now that we have this book, we can all hear it. And it's unforgettable. --Brenda Shaughnessy