On Monday, August 4, Ken Jones will be the featured guest for the Nokturne First Monday Reading Series at 17062 Saturn Lane in Webster at 8:30 p.m.
Ken earned an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a full-time faculty member at the Art Institute of Texas where he teaches multiple subjects, including Creative Writing. He has been published for over 20 years, with works in academic journals, websites, anthologies, magazines, and underground journals. He performs his work at bookstores, coffee houses, conferences, and bars, among other places.
Ken has four collection including Unutterable Blunders and Palace Disasters (published by Plain View Press in 2006), Ceaselee Greasepaint in Combat Stance (published by Slough Press in 2007), and Mr Karma (published by Transcendent Zero Press in 2013). He also has six chap books. He has been a finalist for the West Chester Poets Prize and a Pushcart Prize nominee. He was the 2011 Critics Choice Award winner in 2011 at the Houston Fringe Festival. His creative works are featured in a permanent archive at the University of Texas at Brownsville.
Ken agreed to answer some questions for us about himself and his work.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to tell us about yourself?
A: I am also a songwriter and musician who played in the Austin and LA underground music scenes in the 1980s and 90s and have recently been playing again in a Poetry at the Piano Storytellers format in Hollywood, New York and Austin.
Q: Do you find that each of your collections has an independent theme, or does each book build on something from the previous collection?
A: Each of my poetry collections are self-contained thematically but share a radical subject matter tied to often traditional forms and structures. They also evidence a social consciousness and a hope that racism, sexism and homophobia will someday be eradicated.
Q: What influenced or inspired your poetry?
A: I have been writing since I was a child and it is a true honor that the University of Texas at Brownsville has agreed to store a permanent archive of my papers so that long after we all shuffle off this mortal coil I can stalk the thoughts of some poor graduate students there as I was tortured in grad school!
Q: Do you find that your teaching helps you with your writing?
A: My teaching keeps me in contact with young minds and their energy. It is fulfilling to see my students grow as writers and people and have watched many achieve in varied artistic fields.
Q: Do you have any plans for future books?
A: I have numerous unpublished manuscripts of poetry, travel prose, screenplays, plays, and songs but two projects I hope to release soon are a book of my 50 best love poems and a book of my song lyrics from my 1980s Austin band Peace Corps with now historic flyers and photos.