Cover painting by Rembrandt, courtesy of Scala / Art Resource
"Arlitia Jones? This woman can flat-out write. Her work is so fresh and full
of energy, the smoke's still rising from the page. She takes the grit of our
daily lives and shapes it into wonder and surprise. These poems are about
survival, above all else, and, sometimes, celebration. No fluff here. Where
she comes from, everything costs, and you don't know when you might be
needing a few extra words to get you through another hard day." —Jim Daniels
"Mother Jones, Adrienne Rich, Louise Bogan, Hayden Carruth echo in these poems
that sing expletive as gorgeously as they do epiphany. Talk about
transgression! The Bandsaw Riots blasts past the formalism of content,
posture of address, and the entire miniscule, effete world that has long
defined American poetry as bourgeois. Bless this voice that has NOT been
normalized by the academy to fit its basic black of poetic intellectual
conformity." —Linda McCarriston
"I'm drawn to the voice of this butcher's daughter, wrapping pork chops and
steaks alongside the men, meditating on Yeats and Mother Jones; where
'Morning is a black wing flaring / at a window feathered with ice'; where
the Alaskan Winter stumbles onto the cutting floor in his white coat, hating
his job. These are tough poems of toil and kin and Arlitia Jones is a poet.
It's in her bones and blood. She takes the language of that place and uses
it, like a tool, to chisel deep and lasting marks." —Dorianne Laux
"A notable debut." —PW Forecasts (Publishers Weekly)
More about Jones can be found in a recent feature in The Anchorage Daily News.
First semester graduate student
with no money left over for books,
I worked with my brother processing wild game
after hours at the shop, after federal
inspectors had made their daily tour.
Through loading dock doors came the carcasses
wrapped in old sheets and game bags.
What hunters unloaded from pickup beds
and the trunks of their family cars,
my brother cleaned and butchered, ground together
with suet meat the color of darkest wine.
I wrapped backstraps, ribs and round roasts.
I can tell you exactly what a book costs.
One caribou = two collections of poems:
I bought Carruth and Olds.
Moose, by far the bigger animal, were windfall:
two hardbound anthologies and all of Rich's prose.
The hunt lasted clear through October
and in the end there's always a hunter
with so much meat it'll never all fit
in the chest freezer in his garage
and so he leaves a bit with us.
We let nothing go to waste.
The lean flesh of the wild is delicacy
to two kids raised on domestic beef.
Moose spaghetti and moose stroganoff
on the nights I didn't have class.
© 2001 by Arlitia Jones
first published in Prairie Schooner