The Weather That Kills

Poetry by Patricia Spears Jones

June 1, 1995 • 6 x 9 • 96 pages • 978-1-56689-029-8

Evocative imagery that leaps from the page with the force of gunfire.

“In her first collection, Jones illuminates ‘the secret joy beneath grim turbulence’ that propels these poems into her readers’ hearts and minds. Exploring ‘the daily material that makes a life being lived’ with a fluent intelligence, she connects the personal to political, self to other, then to now. Rooted in the complexity of the American experience, she traces the presence of the human spirit in art, history, geography, politics and popular culture with riveting shifts of scale and focus. ‘The Perfect Lipstick’ moves from a consideration of Christopher Columbus to the slave trade and then leaps assuredly to her ‘favorite shade of lipstick, Sherry Velour,’ whose name suggests ‘Black men in sequined dresses and the click of new words/ in the new world where the most dangerous of dreams/ come true.’ In ‘Glad All Over,’ the poet, an African American, recounts her childhood experience of the civil rights struggle in the South during the ’60s in a quiet, truthful telling that gives tribute to ‘our family’s ordinary courage’ and creates a compelling, defining image of a pivotal time.” —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Arkansas born and raised; resident of New York City for more than three decades, Patricia Spears Jones was named by Essence.com as one of its “40 Poets They Love” in 2010. She is author of the poetry collections: Painkiller and Femme du Monde from Tia Chucha Press and The Weather That Kills from Coffee House Press and four chapbooks, the most recent Living in the Love Economy. Her fourth collection: A Lucent Fire is forthcoming, Fall 2015 from White Pine Press. Her work is widely anthologized.


“It is through books like Patricia Spear Jones’s The Weather That Kills that I know American poetry at the end of this century has begun its slow turn back to relevance. She has given us a world where music and brains are allowed to co-exist with instinct, where the lyrics and the literal may dwell without eyeing the other with suspicion. It is a tough, honest, even humorous universe filled with the details we known and feel but weren’t expecting to encounter. Give this book to the person who believes that printed poetry lack the power to grab the lapel and turn the head.” —Cornelius Eady

The Weather That Kills is the long-awaited collection by Patricia Spears Jones. She is a wise, sophisticated, and tough poet who writes with a marvelous combination of street smart eloquence and earthy passion.” —Jessica Hagedorn

“Patricia Spears Jones’s poems are like homecomings—in her pages the sights and smells, rhythms and caresses of many lives waft up from Memphis and Manhattan. . . . That heart charts its path home by her map of weather that kills and springs that heal. She deserves a wide audience and a place among the well-loved poets of my generation.” —Thulani Davis