108 pages. April 2012. Available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book editions
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"Dick Jones' writing is essential reading.
Miss it not." -- Wes Magee
cover image: Handmade porcelain tile by Rosemarie O'Toole, from Roundstone Ceramics, Ireland
In English property law, "Ancient Lights" refers to an easement on natural light: windows that have been around for more than 20 years may not be blocked. In Dick Jones' Ancient Lights, windows admit light of fierce intensity, undimmed by the passing of decades and the rampant growth of contemporary distractions, and colored by the poet's personal or ancestral framing. The effect can be dazzling.
Dick Jones’ first book-length collection contains 59 poems selected from the years between 1986 and 2012. Named for the autobiographical poems which begin the book and recall the author’s birth during WWII and his early memories, Ancient Lights is both a window into the poet’s own world, and one through we are invited to look at our own lives and relationships, reflected and refracted through his masterful use of language and image.
Initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats, Dick Jones has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of 15.
Dick’s work has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review, and in several print anthologies, including Sing Freedom! (Amnesty International), Brilliant Coroners (Phoenicia Publishing), and Words of Power (qarrtsiluni/Phoenicia). His chapbook, Wavelengths, was a finalist in the 2009 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest, and he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 for his poem, “Sea of Stars.”
In addition to thirty-five years of teaching drama in progressive schools, Dick Jones has been an avid musician all his life, playing bass guitar in rock, blues, and folk bands. He lives outside London with his wife and children, and blogs at Dick Jones’ Patteran Pages.
PRAISE FOR ANCIENT LIGHTS
Dick Jones’ poetry has, for the decades I’ve known it, always been characterised by its lucidity, mouth-watering, lush use of language, muscularity and acute powers of observation.
There is a fine intelligence at play here: the imagery is star-bright and startling in its originality.
Many poets, sadly, go unread, ignored even, but in Dick Jones’ case the exception should be the rule: his writing is essential reading. Miss it not.
author of 6 poetry collections for adults, and more than 100 books for young readers
Reading Dick Jones’s poetry is like being in the embrace of an expert dancer – it is lively, sinuous and spilling with joy and passion. In language assured and richly musical, taut with vivid imagery, we are shown the world in a new and brilliant light.
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia; author of Prime, The Aviary, and Harbour
Jones continually reminds us that the past is never fully past. Builders of a school in 1954 are advised:
Just find intact /(albeit cracked and leaky) /a house that’s there /
already, one that’s rooted /firm, and knows its voice.
That could well be Jones’ ars poetica. His language is as resonant as it is precise, and the craftsmanship delights without drawing undue attention to itself. These are poems that reward repeated visits. Though I’d encountered almost all of these poems before at his long-running blog Dick Jones’ Patteran Pages, reading this gorgeous and powerful collection, I often found myself open-mouthed anew.
editor of qarrtsiluni online literary magazine, and author of Odes to Tools