WHEN THE ONLY LIGHT IS FIRE featured in Next Magazine

by Hernan Paganini

Thanks to Jameson Fitzpatrick for doing this interview. Here’s an excerpt:

Saeed Jones’ debut chapbook of poems, When the Only Light Is Fire, charts a lush, humid nightscape where objects are transformed by distance and danger always lurks. Here, night has a throat. Trees turn their backs. A boy wears “a negligee of gnats.”

Counting influences as varied as Toni Morrison, Greek mythology and Alexander McQueen, the young poet is as unabashedly concerned with beauty as he is socially conscious. His slim 44-page collection, out November 15 from Sibling Rivalry Press, calls upon a multiplicity of voices and a strong sense of the magical to address the complexities of desire, violence and memory faced by a queer person of color from the South.

Over tea at his West Harlem home, Jones—who lived in Tennessee, Texas and Kentucky before moving north to complete his master’s degree at Rutgers-Newark—describes the chapbook as a love letter to who he was in the South. “But the letter’s been set on fire,” he explains. “That’s where we get the distortion, that’s why it hurts to hold. It’s turning to ash.”

Go here to read the rest.

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2 responses to “WHEN THE ONLY LIGHT IS FIRE featured in Next Magazine

  1. Saeed . . . I ordered your book on the recommendation in NEXT Magazine . . . received it yesterday and read the first poem “Kudzu.” Having grown up near Knoxville, TN — I was immediately transported back to the sultry summers feeding the vines over ever living and non-living thing. My brothers and I used to see what kind of animals we could make from the draping trees. Being a gay man who finally is comfortable with body and soul and sexuality, I was thrilled and warmed to imagine with you how the vines imitate the entwining of bodies. I look forward to spending more time with you through your book.

  2. Thanks, Gary!

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