Hettie Jones

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Hettie Jones (born 1934 as Hettie Cohen) is best known as the first wife of Amiri Baraka, known as LeRoi Jones at the time of their marriage, and is also a writer herself. They have two children, Kellie and Lisa Jones.

While known for her poetry, she has received acclaim for her memoir, How I Became Hettie Jones (published 1990 by Grove Press). It tells of her marriage and relationship with Baraka and her friendships with such popular Beat generation figures as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Frank O'Hara, Joel Oppenheimer, and Charles Olson, among others. A focal point of the work is also her struggle to find an identity, as an outcast of her Jewish family and wife of a black artist during the Civil Rights Movement.

Jones held various clerical jobs at Partisan Review and started the literary magazine Yugen with her husband. Jones is currently on the faculty in the graduate program in creative writing at The New School in New York City.[1] From 1989-2002 she ran a writing workshop at the New York State Correctional Facility for Women at Bedford Hills, which included inmate Judy Clark as a student, and which published a nationally distributed collection, Aliens At The Border.[1] Jones is a former chair of the PEN Prison Writing Committee and is currently a member of PEN's Advisory Council.[1]


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