Books by Shawn

Date of Birth (Persea Books 2023)

“Humbling, reverent, irreverent and bold, the poems in Shawn R. Jones’s large-hearted debut demonstrate that dignity is not a state of rest. It is a struggle that makes us present to our lives and everyone in them, and it is achieved not just in spite of, but thanks to the tide of horror and beauty, local and global, upon which our lives are continually born.”
—Gregory Pardlo

“From Camden to Ventnor to Atlantic City, Shawn R. Jones offers us the uninhibited specificity of name and memory, summoning poetry’s potential: ‘Every dipthong, and syllable aflame. / Each vowel broken.’ Out of the searing wreckage emerges a deeply personal, elegaic version of America. Date of Birth is a reminder of origins, as we so of often conveniently forget them, but Jones insists we pay attention through a ‘rebirthing’ of danger, intimacy, delusion, and delight.”
—Patrick Rosal

A Hole to Breathe (Finishing Line Press 2015)

Like Shawn Jones herself, these poems are surprising and smart. In “Jezebel on the Mantel,” for example, the narrator is driving the ashes of a grandmother nobody liked to toss in the ocean. And it’s not just granny, these poems are crackling with other interesting folks: Spittin Willie who “danced drunk with his cart full of junk,” Flimflam Susie who has “red gooey lips” and “jambalaya hips”…and “gargoyle men with hungry eyes and swollen guts.” A Hole to Breathe is a pleasure to read, but beware. It is a slender volume. When you finish it, you may find yourself “jonesing” for more.   ~ Peter E. Murphy, founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University

final cover



Womb Rain  (Finishing Line Press 2008)

An auspicious debut. These vivid cameos pulse with genealogy and family history. Shawn Jones confesses, laments, expiates, calls to account, testifies, and emblematizes flesh as memory, witness, totem, and curse. Despite murder, sexual molestation, poverty, drug addiction, adultery, and the absent father’s haunting presence, Womb Rain honors one woman’s quest for spiritual solace and self-affirmation.   ~Dr. Charles H. Lynch