Acclaimed poet and WKU alumnus to read at WKU

Samantha Wright

After being canceled due to the Snowpocalypse in February, Saeed Jones, critically acclaimed poet, will be speaking at WKU, on Tuesday, giving a reading from his newest book of poetry, “Prelude to Bruise.” This is part of the Goldenrod Poetry festival, which had also been canceled.

Due to an overbooked schedule and stress, Jones won’t be able to come to campus directly, however, the English Club will Skype him in so he can announce the winners of the contest and still read his poetry. He will also Skype individually with the finalists on a different date, still to be decided, so he can workshop with them and give critique and feedback on their work.

Powell, Ohio senior Marissa Tompkins, secretary of the English Club, said even though things aren’t going as originally planned, she’s glad Jones can even speak at all.

“I am so excited that Saeed will be speaking for Goldenrod,” she said via email. “Since the club has been planning this event since November, it’s going to be very satisfying to see everything come to fruition. It is a bummer that Saeed will not be present in person, but he has overworked himself with travel and readings and is ‘to the point of near exhaustion,’ so I am very glad that he will even be Skyping in with us.”

The finalists will read their poetry after Jones has read his, and then he will announce the winners, who he helped choose. There will be three winners with each receiving a modest monetary prize. Jones’ book will also be sold at the event.

Louisville senior Brittany Moster, president of the English Club, said students should attend to see the rising star in action.

“Saeed is an awesome writer,” she said. “He’s doing big things. He’s still young and he’s gaining all this recognition already, so I think that in the future he’s going to do really amazing things. It can only go up from here.”

Jones is a WKU alumnus and the BuzzFeed Literary editor. He’s won several awards, including a literary Pushcart Prize. His Twitter account, @theferocity, was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the best of 2014. He was also recently featured on BuzzFeed’s list of “31 Contemporary Poets You Need to Read.” 

His book received glowing reviews and contains poetry about topics such as violence, race and sexuality.

Publisher’s Weekly was one of several publications to give it a positive review. 

“Jones had a meteoric rise to literary prominence in the past year… the poems of this book are harrowing and heartbreaking, treating family, sexuality, and race with unrelenting intensity,” the review said.

The reading is at 7 p.m. in the Gary Ransdell Hall auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.