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Spells of My Name

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ABOUT THE BOOK Spells of My Name speaks to the power of naming as an act of reclamation, making peace with the past to find a window to the future. I.S. Jones is in awe of bodies and opening the body into a new language, probing the micro histories of the heart and asking urgent questions, like: ‘Why do any of us return / to that which has promised to slaughter us?’ Navigat ABOUT THE BOOK Spells of My Name speaks to the power of naming as an act of reclamation, making peace with the past to find a window to the future. I.S. Jones is in awe of bodies and opening the body into a new language, probing the micro histories of the heart and asking urgent questions, like: ‘Why do any of us return / to that which has promised to slaughter us?’ Navigating sexuality, memory, and identity is a voice torn into multiple selves. This fracturing is full of diversions and sharp bends—a black fawn that the speaker transforms into as she bounds and leaps between poems while being chased by the faceless hunter. Jones searches for home, a place wherever “memory takes mercy on me.” Spells of My Name is unflinching, confessional, timely, and fluid with grace. PRAISE “‘There are so many names I’ve been called / but none belong to me,” I.S. Jones writes. In Spells of My Name, I.S. Jones charts a course to translate the untranslatable—which is to say, to translate oneself. One’s name, one’s being, one’s gods, one’s desires. These poems press forward in exploring, with refined skill. Jones holds a magnifying glass up to every part of themselves, attempting to name, then rename, then name again. In so doing, we’re left with poems complicated and vast, that leave the reader excited for more. This is a poet to watch, a poet to admire, a poet whose truths bring us evermore truth and an ever expanding closeness to self.” —Fatimah Asghar, author of If They Come for Us “Imbuing the heaviness of heritage with rhythms of the hunt, I.S. Jones, in this volume, moves us into ‘Fields of selves.’ Through desire and all the animal impulses, through trust and transatlantic traumas, the lyric speakers find themselves on borders of identity, of history and myth, reality and dream, with voices always perched on the edge of soft and sharp. This is a poet for whom language is that spiritual project of self-recognition as ‘fragmented pieces of the Singular.’ Spells of My Name lives in such assurance, and at the same time—because recognition involves naming, and indeed, being named by the world—in the deep, rich shadows of doubt.” —Logan February, author of In The Nude


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ABOUT THE BOOK Spells of My Name speaks to the power of naming as an act of reclamation, making peace with the past to find a window to the future. I.S. Jones is in awe of bodies and opening the body into a new language, probing the micro histories of the heart and asking urgent questions, like: ‘Why do any of us return / to that which has promised to slaughter us?’ Navigat ABOUT THE BOOK Spells of My Name speaks to the power of naming as an act of reclamation, making peace with the past to find a window to the future. I.S. Jones is in awe of bodies and opening the body into a new language, probing the micro histories of the heart and asking urgent questions, like: ‘Why do any of us return / to that which has promised to slaughter us?’ Navigating sexuality, memory, and identity is a voice torn into multiple selves. This fracturing is full of diversions and sharp bends—a black fawn that the speaker transforms into as she bounds and leaps between poems while being chased by the faceless hunter. Jones searches for home, a place wherever “memory takes mercy on me.” Spells of My Name is unflinching, confessional, timely, and fluid with grace. PRAISE “‘There are so many names I’ve been called / but none belong to me,” I.S. Jones writes. In Spells of My Name, I.S. Jones charts a course to translate the untranslatable—which is to say, to translate oneself. One’s name, one’s being, one’s gods, one’s desires. These poems press forward in exploring, with refined skill. Jones holds a magnifying glass up to every part of themselves, attempting to name, then rename, then name again. In so doing, we’re left with poems complicated and vast, that leave the reader excited for more. This is a poet to watch, a poet to admire, a poet whose truths bring us evermore truth and an ever expanding closeness to self.” —Fatimah Asghar, author of If They Come for Us “Imbuing the heaviness of heritage with rhythms of the hunt, I.S. Jones, in this volume, moves us into ‘Fields of selves.’ Through desire and all the animal impulses, through trust and transatlantic traumas, the lyric speakers find themselves on borders of identity, of history and myth, reality and dream, with voices always perched on the edge of soft and sharp. This is a poet for whom language is that spiritual project of self-recognition as ‘fragmented pieces of the Singular.’ Spells of My Name lives in such assurance, and at the same time—because recognition involves naming, and indeed, being named by the world—in the deep, rich shadows of doubt.” —Logan February, author of In The Nude

31 review for Spells of My Name

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lev Keltner

    A testament to the power of naming. SPELLS OF MY NAME is a potent debut poetry chapbook that interrogates, “What does it mean to be a queer American & Nigerian?” I.S. Jones delves into the personal and political histories of her words and reclaims a presence of being with/of strength & grace.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sadiyah Bashir

    While many speak about intersectionality, Spells of My Name captures the rawest essence of what it means to be human and experience one life through many identities. This book weaves in pain, sorrow, love and triumph in a way that leaves the reader in awe and wanting more.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Loic Ekinga

    Let me start the difficult task of listing my favourite pieces: - A field, Any field - Self-portrait as Etioly - Can You Speak Yorùbá? -Interview with The American/Nigerian -Weather For Two -Esperanza -On Transatlantic Shame (still my favourite prose ever written) -How To Spell Infinity -My Therapist Asks, "Is The Hunter In Your Dreams Your Father?" I honestly tried not to mention all of them because I really love them all! I.S Jones’ use of form and language is truly beautiful. These were honest poems Let me start the difficult task of listing my favourite pieces: - A field, Any field - Self-portrait as Etioly - Can You Speak Yorùbá? -Interview with The American/Nigerian -Weather For Two -Esperanza -On Transatlantic Shame (still my favourite prose ever written) -How To Spell Infinity -My Therapist Asks, "Is The Hunter In Your Dreams Your Father?" I honestly tried not to mention all of them because I really love them all! I.S Jones’ use of form and language is truly beautiful. These were honest poems, stories that give permission and language to the reader to look at themselves and weed out their trauma by acknowledging its existence. There is so much loss and beauty, and power, and self awareness in these pieces, that even as a male reader, I couldn't separate the speaker's humanity from my own. I'm done reading it now but I'm still reeling from the deer who finally survives the hunter, from a speaker who came into her own power. Also, I cannot praise her enough for the African feel to these poems. As a writer of African descent myself, I always find delight in finding my story in the works I consume. She blends her American life with her Nigerian self so well, I'm in awe! One of the best works I’ve read this year! Honestly, one of the best works I've read, ever.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Edwaujonte

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debanjana Das

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ananda

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alyson

  8. 4 out of 5

    Belinda Munyeza

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashly

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nadia A

  12. 5 out of 5

    Codi Carelse

  13. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lidija

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mattea Gernentz

  16. 4 out of 5

    anoushka

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara Bawany

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mamoyobornfree

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zachery

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Mathews

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Paletta

  23. 5 out of 5

    elika jirehl ☽˚。⋆

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Li Qing

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sabina Focsa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leo Ciocan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Clare

  29. 4 out of 5

    Krishali

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nutella

  31. 5 out of 5

    Saurov Karmakar

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