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Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems, 1985-2005 [NOOK Book]


Rodney Jones has been called "the supreme example of the southern human person speaking in American poetry" (Southern Review) and one of the nation's "best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets" (Poetry). Salvation Blues traces the career of this popular narrative poet through one hundred choice poems, including twenty-four bold new pieces.
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Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems, 1985-2005

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Rodney Jones has been called "the supreme example of the southern human person speaking in American poetry" (Southern Review) and one of the nation's "best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets" (Poetry). Salvation Blues traces the career of this popular narrative poet through one hundred choice poems, including twenty-four bold new pieces.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jones, who grew up in rural Alabama, and whose mother and grandparents (the poems tell us) were farm workers, pursues gritty anecdotes that place him within a Southern narrative tradition from Robert Penn Warren to Yusef Komunyakaa and Dave Smith. In this culling from six previous volumes and from new work, Jones (Elegy for the Southern Drawl) portrays "cows named for friends/ and fated for slaughterhouses"; "the tongue-tied, the murderous, the illiterate/ And the alcoholic"; waitresses in "the Benzedrine light of waffle houses"; "a semi loaded with bridge girders"; mules, pigs, and hard physical labor; "fingers cracked by frost/ And lacerated by Johnson grass." As much as he chronicles hard lives, Jones (who teaches at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale) shows an unusual intellectual reach and a large verbal ambition. While this ample book will serve many readers as an introduction to Jones's work, it also contains surprises for his fans: 24 new poems (some his best yet) build on his descriptive strengths as they incorporate political commentary, remembering high school, conceiving the end of the human species or excoriating politicians who sing the "Low-Down Sorry Right-Wing Blues." (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Jones (Elegy for a Southern Drawl) writes of novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer's visit to his college campus and of the older man's sage advice to the students: "I wish someone would write about love." Jones took up that challenge, perhaps not in the traditional sense, but his poems-these are collected from 20 years and six volumes, along with new work-have found much to love, and to celebrate, in this world. "The old people in the valley where I was born/ Still held to the brogue, elisions, and coloratura/ Of the Scotch-Irish, and brandished/ Like guns the iffens, you'nses, and narys/ That linked by the labyrinthine hollers of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains." Jones has a rich, Southern voice, disarmingly smooth, with a kick like moonshine and as satisfying an afterglow. A master storyteller, he offers language crisp and colorful, and his interests are wide-ranging. He delights in digression, following the trails of words, suggestions, and seductions. Attentive to detail and nuance but aware, as well, of the vista-the big picture-Jones evokes both the old and the new South in memorable lines. In poems that are smart and fun and honest to their core, he dispels tired myths and stereotypes, creating entirely new ones to our delight. Highly recommended.-Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"For most of twenty years I have been reading Rodney Jones’ poems, admiring the daring of his mind and attention."—W.S. Merwin

"Reading [Rodney Jones'] poems [is] a continuously liberating experience. This is work that really matters."—Carl Dennis, 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry

"An essential American voice perfectly attuned to its subject matter...[Rodney Jones] is one of our very finest poets."—B.H. Fairchild

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547981673
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/5/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 830,604
  • File size: 228 KB

Meet the Author

Rodney Jones, born in Alabama, is a professor of English at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner. Salvation Blues received the 2006 Kingsley Tufts Award.
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Table of Contents

Remembering fire 3
Sweep 4
For those who miss the important parts 6
I find joy in the cemetery trees 8
Thoreau 10
The first birth 12
A history of speech 14
The laundromat at the bay station 16
The mosquito 19
For the eating of swine 21
Two girls at the Hartselle, Alabama, municipal swimming pool 23
Decadence 24
Transparent gestures 33
One of the citizens 35
The sadness of early afternoons 37
On the bearing of waitresses 40
The kitchen gods 42
Mule 44
The foolishness 47
Winter retreat : homage to Martin Luther King, Jr. 49
Pussy 51
Every day there are new memos 53
Carpe Diem 55
A blasphemy 57
Pastoral for Derrida 59
Life of Sundays 61
The work of poets 65
The bridge 67
Grand projection 69
Romance of the poor 72
Thirty-one flavors of houses 75
At the miracle mall 76
Contempt 79
Shame the monsters 84
At Summerford's rest home 86
Moment of Whitman 88
The privilege 90
Apocalyptic narrative 92
TV 101
Mortal sorrows 103
Beautiful child 105
Nell 107
Risks 109
First fraudulent muse 111
In the spirit of Limuel Hardin 113
The end of communism 116
A ride with the commander 119
On pickiness 121
Ground sense 123
Sex 125
Dirty blues 128
Don't worry 130
Lurleen 133
Down time 139
Doing laundry 140
The poetry reading 142
Refusing to baptize a son 144
Not see again 145
Plea for forgiveness 148
The limousine bringing Isaac Bashevis singer to Carbondale 150
Sacrament for my penis 153
The obsolescence of thou 154
Elegy for the southern drawl 155
The assault on the fields 165
The sorrow pageant 168
Blessed assurance 171
A whisper fight at the Peck Funeral Home 177
Small lower-middle-class white southern male 186
A defense of poetry 188
Bufus 190
Family mattress 192
Channel 193
Homage to Mississippi John Hurt 194
The masters 197
Moses 199
Ten sighs from a sabbatical 201
Salvation blues 209
The attitude 210
Elves 212
The boomers take the field 214
Sovereign joy 216
The United States 217
My monastery 220
Winton and Mildred 222
Avuncular 224
The state-line stripper 225
The low-down-sorry right-wing blues 226
Fears 228
Common-law kundalini 229
Sitting with others 231
Thanksgiving in the late fifties 232
On torture 233
Courtship 234
The language of love 235
Postmodern Christians 236
My father's big idea 237
In high school 239
Vision of the end of the world in the Valdosta Holiday Inn 241
Olympiad 243
Rain on tin 244
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