Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Rodney Jones  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poet

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1950 in Falkville, Alabama

-- Rodney Jones on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Jones is a distinguished scholar and professor of creative writing at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He has taught there since 1985.

Biographical and Professional Information

Rodney Jones is a poet and professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. He was educated at the University of Alabama and earned his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Jones was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The unborn: Poems
ISBN: 0871130041

Atlantic Monthly Press. 1985

Book by Jones, Rodney

Transparent Gestures
ISBN: 0395510627

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1989

On receiving the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1990 for his third book, Transparent Gestures, Rodney Jones was hailed as "a brand-new world-class poet." This collection of poems, rich in irony, sensuousness, and pleasure, reveals his robust, humorous, earthy, and cerebral view of reality and his exploration of all regions and sensibilities of American life.

Apocalyptic Narrative and Other Poems
ISBN: 0395710871

Houghton Mifflin. 1994

Apocalyptic Narrative and Other Poems offers a poignant look at the American landscape: factories, restaurants, farms, empty fallout shelters, glorified malls, and transfigured filling stations scattered across the land. This collection oscillates from the personal to the political, from the religious to the secular, never losing sight of the possibility of joy.

Elegy for the Southern Drawl
ISBN: 0618082492

Mariner Books. 2001

Exulting in the speech of his native Alabama, Rodney Jones's new poems combine satire and ode, formal lament and ribald joke. James Dickey praised this poet's early work as "one of our most poignant and inescapable renditions of the agony at the historical razor's edge." Now, in his sixth book, Jones extends his emotional and stylistic range. He writes of football and feminism, of DDT and family, of crows and sex, of ink and raccoons and perpetual-motion machines. In many of these poems the southern drawl lives forever, riding on the tide of regional language, poking fun yet delighting in it.

Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems, 1985-2005 (Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award)
ISBN: 0618624309

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2006

Rodney Jones has been called "the supreme example of the southern human person speaking in American poetry" (Southern Review) and one of the nation's "best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets" (Poetry). Salvation Blues traces the career of this popular narrative poet through one hundred choice poems, including twenty-four bold new pieces.

Thousand Small Things

18th & Vine. 2009

A Thousand Small Things showcases Rodney Jones' harmonically innovative and masterful guitar style on 11 tracks that journey through jazz, quiet storm, soul, groove, and blues.

* Rodney Jones is an incredibly versatile guitarist whose playing appeals to fans of George Benson, Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery, Larry Carlton, and Herb Eillis.
* Has recorded and performed live with Maceo Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Pete Seeger, Lena Horne, James Brown, Chico Hamilton, Michael Jackson, and Jaki Byard. * Produced Lena Horne's Seasons of a Life for 0Blue Note Records.
* Instructor of jazz guitar at the Manhattan School of Music.
* Recorded best selling DVD Live at Smoke for Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
* Former guitarist for NBC on the Rosie O'Donnell Show.

"There are more than a few sophisticated jazz guitarists on the scene today. Only a handful of them, however, truly have the gift of groove. To put it another way, it is a special guitarist who can please bandleaders as varied as bebop godfather Dizzy Gillespie and funk kingpin Maceo Parker." -- Guitar Player


The Story They Told Us of Light

Associated Writing Programs Award, 1980

The Unborn

  • Lavan Younger Poets Award, 1986
  • Transparent Gestures

  • National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, 1989
  • Elegy for the Southern Drawl

  • Nominated, Pulitzer-prize, 1999 ''Salvation Blues''
  • Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, 2007
  • Shortlisted, Griffin Poetry Prize, 2006
  • Other Awards

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)