Saeed Jones

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Saeed Jones
Saeed Jones at BookExpo 2019
Saeed Jones at BookExpo 2019
Born (1985-11-26) November 26, 1985 (age 35)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Alma materWestern Kentucky University (BA)
Rutgers University–Newark (MFA)
Notable worksPrelude to Bruise
Notable awardsPushcart Prize

Saeed Jones (born November 26, 1985)[1] is an American writer and poet. His debut collection Prelude to Bruise was named a 2014 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. His second book, a memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction in 2019.

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Lewisville, Texas.[2] He attended college at Western Kentucky University, then earned an MFA at Rutgers University–Newark.[3]



NPR called Prelude to Bruise, Jones's debut poetry collection, "brilliant, unsparing," "visceral and affecting."[4] The Kenyon Review said the work "evokes a perilous, often mythic, eroticism within a brutalizing context of violence."[5] TIME Magazine recommended it as "an engrossing read best consumed in as few sittings as possible."[6] It was a 2014 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry.[7]

Jones has been a winner of the Pushcart Prize, the Joyce Osterwell Award for Poetry from the PEN Literary Awards,[8] and the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Award for Literature, and a nominee for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Jones has been featured on PBS NewsHour's poetry series[9] and on So Popular! with Janet Mock on MSNBC.[10] He was featured on the cover of Hello Mr. in 2015.[11]

Prose and other projects[edit]

Jones previously worked for BuzzFeed as the LGBT editor and Culture editor.[12] While at BuzzFeed, Jones cohosted BuzzFeed New's morning show AM to DM from fall 2017 until mid-2019.[13] Jones also wrote an advice column for BuzzFeed's READER newsletter entitled "Dear Ferocity."[14]

His memoir How We Fight for Our Lives was published by Simon & Schuster in 2019. The New Yorker called the book's tone and content "urgent, immediate, matter of fact".[15] NPR called it an "outstanding memoir" with "elements that profoundly connect him to poetry" and to "many of us who grew up dreaming of a chance at upward social mobility".[16] The book won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction in 2019 and a Lambda Literary Award in 2020.[17][18]

Personal life[edit]

Jones lives in Columbus, Ohio.[19]


Poetry collections[edit]

  • When the Only Light is Fire. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2011.
  • Prelude to Bruise. Coffee House Press, 2014.

In Anthology

  • Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. University of Georgia Press, 2018.


  • How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir. Simon & Schuster. 2019. ISBN 9781501132735.


  1. ^ Jones, Saeed [@theferocity] (November 25, 2014). "It's my birthday tomorrow. I'll be 29. So grateful hasn't killed me yet" (Tweet). Retrieved April 25, 2017 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Cochran, Jacoby (May 27, 2015). "Saeed Jones: Buzzfeed Editor, Poet, and Forensicator". Melo. Retrieved September 20, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Sacharow, Fredda (February 19, 2016). "Buzzfeed Names Rutgers MFA Graduate Executive Editor of Culture". Rutgers Today. Rutgers University.
  4. ^ El-Mohtar, Amal (September 3, 2014). "Brilliant, Unsparing 'Prelude' Will Leave A Bruise". All Things Considered. NPR.
  5. ^ Journey, Anna (Fall 2014). "On Saeed Jones's Prelude to Bruise". Kenyon Review Online.
  6. ^ Feeney, Nolan (September 29, 2014). "Saeed Jones: "No One Is Safe" In These Poems". Time.
  7. ^ Charles, Ron (January 19, 2015). "National Book Critics Circle finalists". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ Hertzel, Laurie (May 13, 2015). "Coffee House poet Saeed Jones wins PEN award". On Books. Star Tribune.
  9. ^ van Wagtendonk, Anya (September 15, 2014). "Weekly Poem: Saeed Jones composes a 'Prelude' to one Boy's coming-of-age". PBS NewsHour.
  10. ^ Mock, Janet (January 23, 2015). "'Prelude to Bruise,' the Poetry of Saeed Jones". So Popular!. Shift (MSNBC).
  11. ^ Jones, Justin (September 26, 2014). "The Winning Gay Subtlety of 'Hello Mr.'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 20, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Gross, Terry (November 7, 2019). "'We're All Struggling': Writer Saeed Jones Reflects On Identity And Acceptance". WVXU Cincinnati Public Radio. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Scire, Sarah (April 16, 2020). "BuzzFeed News shuts down AM to DM, its morning news show, after Twitter pulls funding". Nieman Lab. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  14. ^ "Hey, Did You Know BuzzFeed Has A Literary Magazine?". BuzzFeed. May 8, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  15. ^ Waldman, Katie (October 10, 2019). "Saeed Jones's Sensual Memoir of Race, Sex, and Self-Invention". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  16. ^ Iglesias, Gabino (October 14, 2019). "'How We Fight For Our Lives' Is One Life Story That Finds Connection To Others". NPR. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  17. ^ Downing, Andy (October 24, 2019). "Columbus writer Saeed Jones wins the Kirkus Prize". Columbus Alive. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  18. ^ Vanderhoof, Erin (June 1, 2020). "PRIDE MONTH EXCLUSIVE: The Winners of the 32nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  19. ^ McGuire, Nneka (October 22, 2019). "Forget New York. For writer Saeed Jones, Columbus, Ohio, is the place to be a literary star". The Washington Post.

External links[edit]