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The Fool

The Fool

96 pages
Published:   September 8, 2020
Poetry  /  icehouse poetry
Paperback:   9781773101750    $19.95

Finalist, A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry and Raymond Souster Award

In tarot, the Fool represents continual beginnings, not being able to see or think past the excitement and potential of a new start. The Fool is also associated with zero — a literal loop.

Like Anne Carson writing poetry in the style of the poet alchemist Arthur Rimbaud, Jessie Jones renders her reflections with acerbic brilliance. In her debut collection, she examines the sensual, cruel, pleasing, and depraved state of being human in the twenty-first century. All pro, she’s ready to stage a coup d’état.

Reflective with a kind of circular logic edging toward a darker surrealism, these poems are at times comically satirical, but always grounded in fresh ethos. A pleasure of language and circumstance, where passengers on a boat peer through "a thick, absorbent mist" and the poet moves "through/the city like a bundle of kindling./ All day I wait for a bit of friction/ to transform me," The Fool sets its sights on a world riddled with panaceas designed to course-correct our lives.
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Jessie Jones grew up on the Prairies, spent a decade on Vancouver Island, and now calls Montreal home. Her work has been shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s Open Season Poetry Award, Arc’s Poem of the Year contest, and PRISM International’s Poetry Contest. With The Fool, she makes her mark — indelibly.


Shortlisted: Raymond Souster Award
Shortlisted: A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry


"The Fool is electric proof that the fear of not becoming is the only useful fear. The speaker of these poems introduces us to unforgettable places where 'sound has the skin of an apricot' where 'the half-life of [...] ardour is a thousand inner deaths.' In The Fool, to be human is to be ever-emerging. The speaker here makes resolutions only to find each piece of herself is Hydra, is Medusa's hair, a tentacular force propelling her in a million possible directions. With Jones, we learn that arrival is not the conclusion of desire but an extension of it. I'll go under any spell she casts." — Sarah Burgoyne, author of Saint Twin

"For all their darkness and encroaching chill, Jones's poems are exhilarating, a quickening in the pulse rate that happens in the presence of music. She has mastered the power of vowels and sets them loose on the nervous system, on the language, on our soft assumptions." — Ken Babstock, author of Swivelmount

"Like watching a hitherto unknown surrealist film through shivering Venetian blinds, to read The Fool is to be invited to consider the unfixed apertures and shapes of images and words. The botanical, kaleidoscopic language of this stunning and strange debut drew me into its depths, where I found a continuous refusal of the female body, mind, and psyche to be sayable or knowable, i.e. 'kept.'" — Emily Skillings, author of Fort Not

"Images bloom in each line, like dreams, making me want to reread each poem just to experience them a while longer." — Miramichi Reader

"Jones’ poems address the self across different states, even dimensions — emotional, temporal, spatial — resulting in a different kind of intimacy." — periodicities