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When Saeed Jones smiles, he lights up the whole room. (His side-eye, similarly, is chilling.) When we first met in 2012, I knew him as a brilliant poet who loved Toni Morrison. (The author of Sula, Song of Solomon, is how—over a sticky, unsteady table in Botanica—we first connected.) Since then his light has illuminated steadily bigger rooms: On Twitter, where he wields emoji like a scalpel. As BuzzFeed’s founding LGBT editor, where he...
“I THINK OF POETRY as the haute couture of writing,” says Saeed Jones. It’s a fitting description of his first full-length collection of poems, Prelude to Bruise, a book of powerful, exquisite verse that is anything but off-the-rack. Jones, who works as the LGBT editor at Buzzfeed, marries investigations into the intersection of race and sexuality with well-honed observations about the Southern landscape of his youth. In Prelude to Bruise, Jones traces the stumbling coming-...