Ashley M. Jones

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Poet Laureate of Alabama, 2021–

Ashley M. Jones was born on August 13, 1990, in Birmingham, Alabama. After completing the creative writing program at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, she received a BA in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and an MFA in poetry from Florida International University, where she was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow.

Jones is the author of REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press, 2021), which was longlisted for the PEN/Voelker Award for Poetry; dark//thing (Pleaides Press, 2019), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize; and Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press, 2017), which won the silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Poetry.

Jones has received fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the Alabama Library Association. Jones was also the winner of the 2018 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize from Backbone Press and the 2019 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Jones has edited at PANK and POETRY. 

Of her work, Sonia Sanchez writes, “Sister Ashley’s words continue us on the holy meditation begun in the 1960s about what it means to be human, and I say amen. Awoman. Amen. Awoman. Amen. A womannnnnnnnnnnn.

Currently, Jones is the associate director of the University Honors Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and is a core faculty member in Converse University’s low-residency MFA program. In 2021, Jones was commissioned as poet laureate of Alabama. She is the first person of color and the youngest person ever to hold the position. Jones currently lives in Birmingham, where she is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival. In 2022, Jones received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.