I’m a writer and full-time freelance editor with an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana and a BA in English from the University of Texas. I am the author of three books: elsewhere (Black Lawrence Press, 2014), Carpe Demons (Unsolicited Press, 2014), and One Day There Will Be Nothing to Show That We Were Ever Here (Bedouin Books, 2009). My writing has appeared in over fifty journals, including Tribeca Poetry Review, Roanoke Review, and Third Coast. In 2009, I was a writer-in-residence at the Montana Artists Refuge, and in 2011, I received the annual literary award from Emrys Journal.
I got my start eight years ago, as an editor for the literary magazine CutBank, and I’ve since edited over a hundred manuscripts for various publishers, companies, and clients. My roots are currently set down in beautiful Bozeman, Montana, but freelance editing has followed me across the globe while I lived in Portland, Oregon; Wellington, New Zealand; and most recently, Prague, Czech Republic. I subscribe to Montana poet Richard Hugo’s perspective on the necessity of revisions: “Don’t write with a pen. Ink tends to give the impression the words shouldn’t be changed.”
The poems of Scott Alexander Jones have a powerful presence and an extraordinary eloquence. The presence is built of exact details, and a sense of place and person; the eloquence is that of natural speech, the speaking voice of a poet-narrator. These are poems one listens to, and inhabits, takes part in. Jones is a fine observer of both the outer and the inner landscapes—place, passion, and psyche. The poems are both personal and large, true to self and widely seeking. This is a fresh, welcome and original new voice, a strong and intelligent talent.
Professor Emeritus, University of Texas
What elegant, gorgeous and hip poems! Looking fiercely yet tenderly, Jones is in love with the weirdness and beauty of this unraveling world, and mesmerized by his enchanted, subtly humorous, and at times alarming voice, we too are seduced anew.
The poems in That Finger on Your Temple is the Barrel of My Raygun are part fun ride, part descent into anguish. Scott Alexander Jones ably juxtaposes apiary with alienation, career-obsession with mortality. Jones is wildly imaginative, and his poems tell of surrender and replacing bodies with sticks, of youth and spiking coffee with psychotropics, of desolation and floating in a grim waterworld.
"There is a word for the prodigal circles we turn / alien on the outskirts," writes Scott Alexander Jones in this book of fragmenting intimacy and emotional exile. His long poem explores the ravished wanderings and compulsive ruptures of a contemporary romance, born in restlessness, hungry for fresh encounters on ever more uncertain terrain, "blinding & cloudscaped / & groundless." Fidelities, to person or location, become a series of tenuous sendings, "fluctuations / begun as open winds / in the self-blown distance." Akin to the amorous exigencies of André Breton and Robert Desnos, elsewhere takes place as rapt incantatory sound, a musical happening, "static, as in: falling in all dimensions away from."
Capable of stylish recursions and switchbacks, the restless speaker of these poems finds an auspicious trailhead just about anywhere at the inconspicuous margins of the present American West. From the WTO protests in Seattle, a vegan co-op in Los Angeles, a Western Montanan skatepark, or his native red Texas clay, Scott might launch one of his self-refining, surefooted excursions, and like the highest climb they are revelatory as outlook broadens. Serviceberry and solidarity at the top. This trail goes on far above that rock I thought was the peak.
Welcome to elsewhere, a long poem whose mascot insists on the political relevance of rain puddles: "Where a lone sheepdog in a raincoat orange as prisonbreak drags his leash thru / puddles / rainbowed iridescent by the remains / of extinct reptiles." Scott documents both "our blue proximity to morning" and "that Listerine blueness;" blurs the line between long-hidden "lipstick graffiti" and "the severed rings of a sycamore;" and insists that "There isn’t a word" for the images he conjures to cloud, confuse, and capture a buried narrative of loss. Elsewhere pulses with emotion, sadness, and beauty linked by observations and objects: "How one day there will be nothing to show that we were ever / here / but stardust. / Yet it’s not for us / sea waves, rain, shuddering leaves and TV snow / all sound like applause."
Scott Alexander Jones writes with clarity and precision about ambiguities and uncertainties: "In the gathering wind I stop to listen / to the rumor of rattlesnakes rustling thru the serviceberry." His poems have a complex blend of playfulness and melancholy, irony and sharpness, like the tones and after-tones of a seasoned and well-played guitar. Reading these poems is time well spent.
Montana Poet Laureate
Scott Alexander Jones’s That Finger on Your Temple is the Barrel of My Raygun is oddly beautiful, semi-creepy, with a winking sense of humor, like I know its the end of the world, but just smile and bear it. Reminds me of old Leonard Cohen poems that would end with lines like: “Since it is New Yrs Eve and I have lip cancer/ i will put my paper hat on my concussion and dance...” His poems had me barking out loud with sudden laughter and that is not my usual reaction to poetry. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this collection.