Daniel Jones: Yesterday's Poet of Today
Daniel Jones's debut, and sole, collection, The Brave Never Write Poetry, may have been woefully overlooked when it first came out in the mid '80s, but today, over a decade and a half after the poet's untimely death, there is a sudden resurgence of interest in his work. Angela Veronica Wong of the New Pages Book Review explains why, in an age of facebook and electronic communications, Jones's gritty confessional verses may be more relevant than ever:
When an artist produces only one piece of work and when the work is anywhere close to stunning, it’s hard not to see it as representational of “promise” and lament what could have been. Daniel Jones authored only one collection of poetry during his lifetime and published it under his last name. Jones was twenty-six when it was published; after The Brave Never Write Poetry was originally published in 1985, he never again published a poem (though he did publish fiction). His sole collection was beautifully republished by Toronto’s Coach House Books in 2011.
The strength of Jones’s poems lies in their emotional authenticity. A force of voice and character, reading The Brave Never Write Poetry is a little like reliving an adolescent crush—there is still something irresistible in a bad boy, especially one with literary talent. Jones’s storytelling captivates, and his misanthropy (which we only half-believe) and self-deprecation are wielded like sharp knives, but it is his poetic thoughtfulness, his control of line and pacing, that are mesmerizing.
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