Ashley M. Jones

Cindy Seip

Ashley M. Jones is the first Black poet to be selected poet laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She authored two previous poetry collections, Magic City Gospel and dark // thing. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming on many platforms and in journals and anthologies, including the Academy of American Poets, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, Steel Toe Review, Poets Respond to Race Anthology, and Fjords Review. Jones is also the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. In Reparations Now! (Hub City Press) she calls for what is owed to the Black descendants of enslaved people in the United States. In formal and nontraditional poems, Jones explores trauma past and present, cultural and personal. They might address the lynching of young, pregnant Mary Turner in 1918; the current white nationalist political movement; or a case of infidelity. But she also celebrates Black life and art in its many forms, from music to cooking. In its review, Publishers Weekly celebrated how in “poems that showcase a wide formal range, Jones … expertly juxtaposes historical moments and incidents with personal history in her impressive third collection.”