Painkiller is Patricia Spears Jones’ third collection. The Weather That Kills(1995), her first, introduced us to Jones’ consideration of what can happen to joy and decency in a hostile environment. Jones’ Femme du Monde (2006), straddled the Atlantic to explore the destructive trail of war, the fragile rebuilding of lives and cultures, the promising principles of the Enlightenment, and the on-going vigilance of liberty (some poems about great U.S. movies stirred into the mix) through the eyes of a sensitive and sophisticated African-American woman traveler. Jones, herself, was born and reared in Arkansas, and migrated to New York City in the ‘70’s. She is imaginative, but her poetry is grounded in commentary, as she aesthetically and morally parses her experiences into poetic revelations. Painkiller – both generous and elegant, at the same time – continues that legacy
David Rivard on Femme du Monde
Patricia Spears Jones is a cosmopolitan blues goddess alive on the wind stream of transnational homemade intimate gossip. Her life may be held together by ‘wishful thinking and krazy glue,’ but these poems are a highly effective antidote to living in a country where caring seems to have been placed on the Endangered Activities list. Just to say it loud & clear—Femme du Monde will move & entertain you, amply, wisely, with all heart intact.
Thomas Sayers Ellis on Femme du Monde
These poems all posses a wise and natural nothing (to prove) ness full of a new breed of aesthetic energy. The witnessing is active and the traveler wide awake and more than comfortable in her skin of lyrical and, often, cinematic patience. Here, modern-thinking and modern-feeling equal wholeness, superior and human. The poetic knowledge of the book is its invention of as many possible truths as there are possible realities, constructing well-paved and well-lit poetic paths for the reader, which makes this a book almost in love with the whole world; the one we live in; the one others have invented for us to live in; and the one we invent in order to live again. Patricia Spears Jones rolls through them all, offering a reading experience that resonates as an original equation toward all kinds of courageous motion and freedom.
Janet Hamill on Femme du Monde
As it was for Frank O’Hara, so it is for Patricia Spears Jones. “…Poetry brings forth the intangible quality of incidents which are all too concrete….” And it’s more than the union of the ordinary and the intangible in their work that brings to mind a kinship between the two poets. They share a familiarity of place (New York and Paris, though I don’t think O’Hara ever ventured west of the Hudson) and a love of referring to place. It is as if landscape and the street and architecture of cityscape are necessary grounding for the internal journeys of their poems. Their identities are interdependent with place. Place is an extension of their bodies and souls, not in an omnipresent, Whitmanesque sense, but in a humble, transcendental way. For who knows where the poet ends and the physical world begins.
Femme du Monde is the third collection by New York-based poet Patricia Spears Jones, and in it one gathers a strong sense of a woman moving from geographical place to place, victorious — the sophisticated lady, invulnerable. A little scared, a little weary. She has been there, done that, and then some. She may be trailing a Mercedes with Texas plates over the Mississippi. strolling the Quai Voltaire, or waiting for a cross-town bus. Wherever she is, she’s in for the “long haul”.