“Jones’ poetry often invokes a sense of intimate nostalgia — a warm thirst for a moment or a place that was, or that could have been. The verses change pace on a dime. They vibrate.” — Jairo Ramos at NPR: Code Switch.
“we tested our faith
in stories of birds
bees lied.” — Kima Jones from “Fresh.”
Who She Is
Kima Jones has received fellowships from PEN Center USA Emerging Voices, Kimbilio Fiction and The MacDowell Colony, as The 2014-2015 Gerald Freund Fellow. She has been published at Guernica, NPR, PANK, Scratch Magazine and The Rumpus among others. Kima lives in Los Angeles and is writing her first poetry collection, The Anatomy of Forgiveness.
Why You Should Read Her
Kima Jones will gut you with her poetry, turn you around, set you alight. And her essays do so much beautiful work. They read like poetry carefully crafted into sentences that tell the whole beautiful terrible truth of a story. Anyone who’s ever written or tried to write knows how difficult (impossible) it is to get those deeply important personal moments and stories into words and onto the page/screen. Kima Jones makes it look easy. And that’s part of her mastery: poetry and essays that read beautifully, easily even as they reveal and translate the rawest realest parts of a self.
It’s particularly important when so much of her work is about the experiences and internal lives of young women, especially black women. In a culture dominated by the stories of cis white men (and women), there’s no language for these experiences, the metaphors aren’t there or they’re from that same white male POV with women as the object not the subject. Kima Jones is part of a growing movement of women writers who are creating that language, its unique, intersectional grammar. Kima Jones is giving women a voice, a new way of speaking about their/our lives, new stories that flow from a different world of experience. They are speaking to us, you in new ways that open up the world, expand it.
Kima Jones isn’t just a brilliant poet, she’s a fierce advocate for writers and their work. You know that hot writer you’re reading or about to read? Kima Jones is probably somewhere behind the scenes making sure you knew to read their work in the first place. And there’s really nothing more important to writers than getting their work out there. It’s part skill, part luck, part magic and Kima Jones is a wizard.
Also, I’ve loved writing This Writer’s On Fire with/for Roxane and Kima Jones was a perfect note to end it. Keep looking for those fire writers doing the good work. They’re out there. Waiting for you. Read, love, share.
Where to Read Her Work
“Fresh” at 30 x Lace.
“AD 2012” at Pank (Queer Issue).
Misc, essays, interviews
“Kima Jones, On Black Bodies And Being A Black Woman Who Writes” by Jairo Ramos for NPR: Code Switch.
“That Which We Refuse To Bury” at Souvenir Lit.
“The Aqiqua” at Midnight Breakfast.
“THE RUMPUS INTERVIEW WITH CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE” at The Rumpus.
“A List of Things to Ask Yourself When You’re Making a List of Poets” at Flavorwire.