An Introduction to Ashley M. Jones by Chris Campanioni

In two poems, Ashley M. Jones gives us absence and excess, the flesh (hands) made into object (whips) the body objectified, the strange juxtapositions that have made America “almost independent” on its two hundred and fortieth year. She pulls no punches but insists on invoking the violence, implicit and explicit, that got us here, giving us grit, pop, horror, desire, beauty, “the way a dress unfolds” and the freedom of an empty road, the space to move but also to breathe, ultimately asking herself—and us—“I wonder, does this make us more free?”