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by 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

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