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About Saeed Jones
Saeed Jones is the author of the memoir How We Fight for Our Lives, winner of the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, the 2020 Stonewall Book Award/Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award, a 2020 Publishing Triangle Award, and a 2020 Lambda Literary Award. He is also the author of the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The poetry collection was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his dog Caesar.
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One of the best books of the year as selected by The New York Times; The Washington Post; NPR; Time; The New Yorker; O, The Oprah Magazine; Harper’s Bazaar; Elle; BuzzFeed; Goodreads; and many more.
“People don’t just happen,” writes Saeed Jones. “We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, ‘I am no longer yours.’”
Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.
An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that’s as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.
"Jones is the kind of writer who's more than wanted: he's desperately needed."—FlavorWire
"I get shout-happy when I read these poems; they are the gospel; they are the good news of the sustaining power of imagination, tenderness, and outright joy."—D. A. Powell
"Prelude to Bruise works its tempestuous mojo just under the skin, wreaking a sweet havoc and rearranging the pulse. These poems don't dole out mercy. Mr. Jones undoubtedly dipped his pen in fierce before crafting these stanzas that rock like backslap. Straighten your skirt, children. The doors of the church are open."—Patricia Smith
"It's a big book, a major book. A game-changer. Dazzling, brutal, real. Not just brilliant, caustic, and impassioned but a work that brings history—in which the personal and political are inter-constitutive—to the immediate moment. Jones takes a reader deep into lived experience, into a charged world divided among unstable yet entrenched lines: racial, gendered, political, sexual, familial. Here we absorb each quiet resistance, each whoop of joy, a knowledge of violence and of desire, an unbearable ache/loss/yearning. This is not just a "new voice" but a new song, a new way of singing, a new music made of deep grief's wildfire, of burning intelligence and of all-feeling heart, scorched and seared. In a poem, Jones says, "Boy's body is a song only he can hear." But now that we have this book, we can all hear it. And it's unforgettable."—Brenda Shaughnessy
"Inside each hunger, each desire, speaks the voice of a boy that admits "I've always wanted to be dangerous." This is not a threat but a promise to break away from the affliction of silence, to make audible the stories that trouble the dimensions of masculinity and discomfort the polite conversations about race. With impressive grace, Saeed Jones situates the queer black body at the center, where his visibility and vulnerability nurture emotional strength and the irrepressible energy to claim those spaces that were once denied or withheld from him. Prelude to a Bruise is a daring debut."—Rigoberto González
From "Sleeping Arrangement":
Take your hand out
from under my pillow.
And take your sheets with you.
Drag them under. Make pretend ghosts.
I can't have you rattling the bed springs
so keep still, keep quiet.
Mistake yourself for shadows.
Learn the lullabies of lint.
Saeed Jones works as the editor of BuzzfeedLGBT.
Con una voz que es a la vez un río, un blues y un paisaje nocturno en llamas, Jones rememora su infancia y adolescencia; la turbulenta relación con su madre y su abuela; sus aventuras sexuales con amantes, amigos y extraños. En los episodios que conforman sus memorias, encontramos reflexiones sobre la raza y la identidad, sobre el poder y la vulnerabilidad, sobre el amor y la aflicción; un retrato sobre lo que se hace por los demás —y lo que se les hace— mientras luchamos por convertirnos en nosotros mismos.
Cómo luchamos por nuestras vidas consolida a Saeed Jones como uno de los autores estadounidenses más importantes de nuestro tiempo.