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Work Samples

Online Publications

Online publications

"3 Poems" (2023)
    originally published in SPRUNG FORMAL
"2 Poems" (2023)
    originally published in The Cortland Review

"1 Poem"
   originally published in Olit

"On the tiniest budgets" (2022)
    originally published in Poet Lore

"La Vida" (2021)
    originally published in NYC LGBTQ Center's
    "Queer Artists of Color Paint the 21st Century

"Man with shotgun and alien" (2021)
    originally published in Shenandoah

"tender-headed" (2021)
    originally published in Shenandoah

"of two minds" (2020)
    originally published in DIAGRAM_20.4

"2 Poems" (2020)
    originally published in Spilt Milk by The Poetry Society of New York

"Micro review" (2022)
   originally published in Revolute Literary Journal

"Craft essay and 3 Poems" (2022)
   originally published in Free State Review

"Guest Editor's Note" (2022)
    originally published in Shenandoah (Vol 71.2)

PDF icon Online Publications

Ponder Review, Fall 2019

"straight people are the reason" (2019)
        orignally published by Ponder Review

PDF icon Ponder Review, Fall 2019

print pubs fast backwards, family crowds, and edible but ugly.pdf

"fast backwards" (2019)
   originally published in The Santa Clara Review
"family crowds around open oven" (2018)
    originally published in Black Mountain Press

"edible, but ugly" (2015)
    originally published in Amendment Journal

PDF icon print pubs fast backwards, family crowds, and edible but ugly.pdf


About Sylvia

Baltimore City

Sylvia Jones's picture
BIO SYLVIA JONES is a writer, educator, and prison abolitionist. She earned her MFA from American University in Washington D.C., and recently served as a 2021-22 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University. She’s associate poetry editor at Black Lawrence Press and works part-time teaching creative writing and composition at Goucher College and The George Washington University. She is also a first reader for the journal, Ploughshares. Her most recent writing appears or is forthcoming in Smartish Pace, Sprung... more

"Guest Editor's Note" from Shenandoah —Volume 71, Number 2 (Spring 2022)

Orignally published in Shenandoah (Vol 71.2) Spring 2022

Volume 71, Number 2 · Spring 2022

Guest Editor’s Note

Sylvia Jones

What is social duty to an identity? The poems I’ve selected for this issue strive to respond to this question and others. They are an eloquent argument against oversimplifying what it means to represent a community and shed light on poets’ responsibilities to their communities.

With rigorous pizzazz and a few sprinkles of discretion, these poems put in the work, and in doing so, they reveal how nimble the human spirit can be when struck with adversity in its many shapes—alienation, catastrophic loss, disappointment, and withholding.

As an exercise in technical wizardry, residing somewhere far beyond the shore of duplicitous intentions and traveling by way of distorted time, as if guided by a singularity of intention, they sweep en masse into a narratively restrained quarter-moon shape, leaving readers in the middle, scanning each collapsible pause, asking: Where does the desire to assimilate come from? Can a poem be a vehicle for psychic fraud? What does authority mean? How do you fact-check a poem? Can voice be a body cam? If so, how?

Like a quorum or a committee, or a column of names to be remembered. Or a tongue in your pocket, beneath a welcomed stain on your favorite pants. The speaker’s voice is not a reversible little painting, but it can be folded into many edges. These poems reverberate like the voice of a hero with a thousand faces. They will not be taken in by the commercially advertised mail-order coat-of-arms trade. Together they are hoping. Just a little. Not to uproot but to godsmack.

Every so often I jot down random words and phrases, as something to do with my hands while I listen and process the news. In note-taking, I’m also stocking up on idioms for my repository of well-kept lines, and in doing this, I’m gathering material and adding dimensionality to all those theoretical poems of the future, everything yet to be written. This issue too reminds me of that stacking. And of Roethke’s query: will the heart eat the heart?

"3 Poems" — Santa Clara Review, Black Mountain Press, and The LGBTQ Center of New York

Audio recordings of (3) Poems

1.   "Family Crowds around Open Oven for Warmth" (Balck Mountain Press)

An audio file of me reciting a piece I wrote,"Family crowds around an open oven for warmth. Harlem, New York, 1968". Here, I'm responding to a photographic work from Gordon Parks, which is where my poem also draws its title from.

2.   "Fast Backwards" (Santa Clara Review)

An audio recording of myself reciting "Fast Backwards" which is a poem split into two, half-ars poetica, half- ode, it's mostly a celebratory poem written out of tribute to two of my literary heroes Toi Derricotte and  Charles Simic, whose work and life, I often looked to as a north star.

3.  "Straight people are the reason I can't read" (Ponder Review)

An audio recording of myself reciting "Straight People are the reason I can't read" which I wrote in memoriam to the many gay and queer people who were born in the early days of the Aids Epidemic. The poem is meant to serve as a bridge between the canon and the continuum and hopefully uproots readers expectations in regards to the activism bore out out of the AIDS Movement, writ large.

WINDFALL ROOM ISSUE 36 Baltimore Series #7

Each issue Windfall Room publishes a poet reciting one of their own works in a high-quality audio/video format. There is no accompanying text version of the poem. Dora Malech reached out to me in the Fall and asked if I'd be interested in working with the Windfall Room for their upcoming issue, I was so elated to be asked and very much enjoyed all the various situational challenges that came with this elaborate attempt to stage a good recitation. Nevertheless, here's a link to the video recording Windfall Room Issue 36 wherein I'm reciting my poem "Turning the head of a rake on its side" facing lakeside in Druid Hill Park with my back to 83. The poem itself was originially published in 2020 by Spilt Milk an online publication run and housed by Milk Press Books and The Poetry Society of New York.

HOT L Poets Series (June 12, 2022)

Reading with fellow local Baltimore poet Lindsay Bernal in The HOT L Poets Series! June 12, 2022. The HOT L Poets Series is a reading series presented by Smartish Pace magazine and Baltimore Poets Theatre. Readings are held on the second Sunday of the month at The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore and feature two or three poets along with an open mic.

  • The HOT L Poets Series June 12, 2022 at The Ivy Boookshop

    Clip from a reading with fellow poet and local Baltimore writer Lindsay Bernal from June 12, 2022. The HOT L Poets Series is a reading series presented by Smartish Pace magazine and Baltimore Poets Theatre. Readings are held on the second Sunday of the month at The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore and feature two or three poets along with an open mic.

“Different Strokes/Different Folks: Queer Artists of Color Paint the 21st Century”

A virtual exhibition published in May 2021 of works by LGBTQ+ BIPOC artists thatexplore the intersections of gender and queerness, along with the interplay of race, class, ability, religion, sex, and sexuality—all against the backdrop of an organization that was founded at the height of, and in response to, the AIDS epidemic.

The Center closes out our month-long virtual Pride celebration with our annual Open House program. All are invited to learn about The Center and the work we do through a number of interactive activities. We’ll have community partner presentations, an artist’s panel discussion, and even a jazz concert by Uptown Royalty presented in partnership with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. For more info and to view the online exhibit

Matías Alvial
Mx. Enigma
Sylvia Jones
Fernando Vieira