The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning

Richard Jones

Richard Jones’s seventh book is the work of an artist whose intense commitment to poetic craft is matched by his extraordinary capacity to witness and chronicle the details of domestic life and assert that there are “cherubim lingering by the illuminated / bins of produce, / seraphim protecting the fish sticks / in the frozen-food section.” Jones says: “I trust language. I want to be clear. I believe poetry is a ‘temple of words.’ I try to keep it spare and elemental.” This transformative belief in “the correct spelling and exact meaning” of the world and the word resounds in the pages of this book—a luminous hosanna to the paradoxes and pleasures of existence, a hymn of our desires for redemption and salvation.

ISBN: 9781556593178

Format: Paperback


I need to witness miracles today—
a river turned to blood,
water become wine,
a burning coal touching the prophet’s lips,
black ravens swooping down
to bring a starving man bread and meat,
a poor fisherman raising the dead!
I’ve heard theologians say
this is not the age of miracles,
but still, I’m easy to impress.
I don’t need to climb out of the boat
and walk on water; I’d just like
to put my head on the pillow
while the storm still rages, and rest.

About the Author

Throughout his career, Richard Jones has written from a luminous interiority, in deceptively simple, elegant language. His complex and intimate poems are spare, intentional models of clarity and restraint. Yet the formal quietness and the clear style belie neither the poetry’s soulfulness nor the poet’s intelligence; rather, such lucidity attains a kind of radiance. Richard Jones’s sixteen books include Apropos of Nothing (Copper Canyon, 2006), The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning (Copper Canyon, 2010), and Stranger on Earth (Copper Canyon, …

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“Jones has mastered a poetic voice that is casual yet resonant, capable of swinging from ordinary events to metaphysical speculations and back again seemingly without effort.” —Foreword

“Jones is nothing if not sincere, and his fluent free verse and glowing prose poems pursue some very traditional goals… [and] beauty and mystery are what he finds, commemorating parents and friends, contemplating the art of poetry, and celebrating his young children…” —Publishers Weekly

“Skillful, direct, and surprisingly delicate.” —Village Voice

“A poet of uncommon perceptual gifts.” —Library Journal