edward jones he/they
Edward Jones is the ultimate blend of old-time sophistication, deep spirituality and modern proclamation. His work is bedded in the style of the classics, but pushes boundaries and edges to create something unique. He does not write for the cis community; his work is aimed instead at those on the outskirts of society, who have been marginalised simply for existing.
His first chapbook collection, The Dead and I, is being released as part of the Bent Key Queer Poets Collective and we are incredibly proud to represent both him and his words. Our ethos stands: trans men are men. Trans women are women. Non-binary people are valid.
Want to know more about Edward? Read on for brutal honestly, radical openness and more...
Can you describe your work in five words?
You're releasing your first chapbook as part of our Queer Poets collection. What does your queer identity mean to you and how has that fed into your writing?
There is a lot of debate over the appropriateness of separating the artist from their art, and when you yourself are an artist you do question how relevant that could one day be to your work. I do love hearing other people’s interpretations of my poems, and how personal it has become. However, there is one thing I will never want to be separated from myself, my image or my work — I write for trans people. I write for people assigned female at birth who have experienced harrowing rejection of womanhood. Every piece I write is impacted by my queerness and my anatomy, and every interpretation of it needs to take into account my body and what it has seen.
How long have you been writing poetry, and how long did this particular chapbook take you to complete?
I actually started writing poetry when I was only eight. I remember my whole year 3 class had to write a poem for a competition; I wrote a ballad for my pet bunny, who I very originally named Flopsy. It went something like: “in the morning on the way to school / I see my baby bunny by the garden pool …” Unfortunately, this masterpiece is not included in the chapbook.
What is the message behind your work – what do you want people to take away from it?
This chapbook is a story of grief - something every person will know. Whether that be a physical loss or the loss of yourself, it takes you through every piece of it, every tear, every scream, and every step as you move on. I’ve had so many experiences with death and remember it like a past lover; occasionally, a memory of it will come back to me and sometimes it comforts me; sometimes, it still makes me mad. My work is almost a love story between myself and death, and our many, many adventures.
Which poets do you like to read/listen to and how have they influenced you?
For so long, my biggest inspiration was Dorothy Parker. I adore how witty and sharp she is, how she was fantastic with words and yet so raw at the same time. I think as my life has shifted in the past 2 years, I’ve been able to appreciate poets who have also experienced a lot of sadness, yet managed to incorporate nature and its beauty. I think I’d say William Morris, John Keats, and Tennyson are big stand-outs for me.
Is there a poem in your collection that stands out as a personal favourite? If so, which and why?
I think if I had to show someone a poem and say “this is classic Eddie,” it would probably be The Bath. Not just because I’m absolutely obsessed with baths, but it has every element of my writing summarised into a not-too-bad piece — queerness, death, sorrow and a good sprinkling of sarcasm. Though I’m also very fond of If We Could Misbehave, I love poems that are so raw the speaker is practically crawling on hands and knees and screaming at you as you read it.
What would you like to achieve with your poetry?
I would like to chant at my feet as I sway around a graveyard and scream at the moon. I would like to make my very own spell.
As you’re from Liverpool, where do your football loyalties lie, if at all?
Honestly? I’ve always found football to be very stressful; it makes people so aggressive and hateful towards each other. I’ve never understood why you’d willingly want to be a part of that, but it’s not my place to judge just because I don’t understand.
Fun fact, though; after my dad died we sprinkled his ashes on the corner of Burnley's pitch, and then Burnley won 12 matches in a row.
Who would play you in a film version of your life and why?
Knowing Hollywood, they’d probably cast bloody Scarlett Johansson
The Dead and I drops in August 2022 as part of the Queer Poets Collective