Madison Percy Jones

Madison is the author of the poetry collections Losing the Dog (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming) and Reflections on the Dark Water (Solomon & George, 2016). His poems have appeared in journals such as North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, The Greensboro Review and in anthologies including Mountains Piled upon Mountains: Appalachian Nature Writing in the Anthropocene. He was the recipient of the Robert Mount, Jr. College Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a Literary Award from the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, among other awards. He regularly reviews poetry collections and has written for Kenyon Review Online, Birmingham Poetry Review, storySouth, The Journal, and elsewhere. In Spring 2020, he served as writer-in-residence at Wolff Cottage as part of an award from the Fairhope Center for Writing Arts.

A fifth-generation Alabamian and the child of a teacher and a poet-turned-woodcutter, he has always been interested in the relationship between writing and the natural world, both in rural and wild places. Growing up working on his grandfather's farm and cutting trees with his father helped shape his writing's focus on the often fraught relationshps between people and place. His poetry deals with subjects ranging from family tragedy, mental illness, love & loss, the natural world, and environmental destruction, all taking place in the American South. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Montevallo and an M.A. in English from Auburn University, where he served as an Assistant Editor for Southern Humanities Review.

In May 2020, he recieved his Ph.D. in writing studies from the University of Florida. His doctoral research focused on the role of places and environments in writing and advocacy. He's taught writing courses on poetry, creativity, and place-writing as well as on professional writing, digital composition, and rhetorical theory. In Fall 2020, he joined the faculty at the University of Rhode Island in the departments of Writing & Rhetoric and Natural Resources Science. You can learn more about his scholarship and academic work at He lives in Providence, RI with his wife, Jane.

Poetry Collections

Ordering information, reviews, and sample poems


Salmon Poetry, Forthcoming

Get notified when the collection is available.

It doesn't take long to discover that, beneath the stately and ordered surface of these poems, a wild energy sizzles. Readers of these delightfully surprising lines will, like the "blue knuckled" sparrows Jones writes about, walk a kind of poetic high wire, "a hundred thousand volts / coursing like fire" through our hands. Jones writes wonderfully about the natural world, about place and loss, but his poems, despite their loving specificity, never stop tallying "the weights of distant elsewheres." A terrific collection. -Davis McCombs, author of Lore

In his newest poetry collection, Madison Jones continues to weave a tapestry of loss connecting family tragedies, mental illness, and environmental destruction in the American South. These poems ruminate on the leaving and the left behind. They mourn lost places, animals, and people, while locating a voice in spaces of change. Hounded by loss, Jones seeks redemption in the natural world through environmental elegy. These poems bear witness to the past without succumbing to pastoral nostalgia, with memories of growing up in Alabama and Florida deeply rooting the poems in rural and wild places. Through ecopoetry, the speaker works to make sense of the traumatic locations of destruction and loss as well as the often fraught relationships people form with the nonhuman world. By returning to the haunted spaces of memory, these poems seek to recover and reimagine the past in order to survive.

This collection was made possible by generous support from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts' 2022 Poetry Fellowship award and a 2020 Writing Residency at Wolff Cottage from the Fairhope Center for Writing Arts.

Praise for Losing the Dog

This is a book of poetry located between deep connection and its stark opposite, recognizing the fact that essential human and cultural values once held by one generation have been passed to the next in slipshod fashion at best, or not at all. The voice of these poems is one eager to inherit knowledge yet aware that the reliable means of transmission has been broken. Along the way many other things have broken, like the human bond with Nature and the ties to the knowledge-giving sites where we meet Nature. What are we to do? is the implicit question behind many of the poems in this wholly honest book. We find ourselves in a Beckett-flavored pickle of not knowing how to go on, yet nevertheless having to go on. Art and poetry may not provide the means for going forward, but they remind us we have no alternative. This book addresses head-on that disquieting dilemma. —Maurice Manning, author of The Common Man,One Man’s Dark, and Railsplitter, among others.

More praise for Losing the Dog

The poems in Madison Jones’s intimate new collection, Losing the Dog, examine with a builder’s precision how we can responsibly interact with the world as we find it, worn down, threadbare as the second-hand radials in “Used Tires,” but irrepressibly beautiful and inspiring despite the depletions of the Anthropocene. I love the granular specificity of these poems, with their radio station call numbers and favorite songs playing as in “Deep Fade,” and knowing the point near the state line when the signal will drop. These poems maintain connection to Yeats’s “deep-rooted things,” care and attachment to places that are always changing, and to people we love through their struggles and triumphs. A reader will come to know and care for the plants and animals brought to life in “Nocturne,” “Bobcats,” and “Aubade with Dog,” and be reminded of the value of loving even what we cannot understand. Madison Jones has constructed a collection of poems that looks upon our times with open eyes and an open heart. —Jesse Graves, author of Merciful Days and Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine
To read Madison Jones’s Losing the Dog is to “set out on the dark road out of town,” to follow a lost trail into the wilds of imagination and into the weedy fields of daily life. Jones is a forest bather by nature, and his keen eye, calm demeanor, and deep concentration have earned him an intimate understanding of the little things. When he writes “I knew a field named Eurydice,” I am delighted, and when he reports finding an abandoned backhoe, a carcass floating downstream, or a brooding nuclear power plant in this less than idyllic world, I believe him and will gladly come along.—William D. Waltz, author of Zoo Music and Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America

Reflections on the Dark Water (Poems)

Solomon & George, 2016

This collection takes as its subjects loss and memory in the landscapes and wild spaces of the American South, connecting and weaving personal losses with the larger threads of ecological disruption and environmental degradation. These poems seek wildness in industrial, pastoral, rural, and urban places--places neither wholly sacred nor fully desecrated. Memories of growing up in Alabama and surviving family tragedy all push the speaker outward, seeking connections with "that other world" outside ourselves.

Reflections on the Dark Water concerns itself with memory and myth, how the bridge between the two-how the line where they intersect-is the irrevocable location of history. M.P. Jones crosses that bridge, that line over and again in poems that view the past in order to make sense of the present. This is a book that wants to separate "truth from chaff."-Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition

More praise for Reflections on the Dark Water

Reflections on the Dark Water mourns the vanishing or vanished pastoral American South as well as the human and animal lives it sustains. Think of these as eco-elegies, twining the fates of family with those of a carpenter-ant-eaten oak, an abandoned owl's nest, or herons in an industrial park. In a landscape of ever-possible ruin, the poet stakes his claim to sound, whether created through the repetitions of formal verse or through the easy virtuosity of language and line. "For a while, we stand afraid to interrupt / the silence which has swollen until it filled / the lake and the green hill and the dark trees," Madison Jones writes. And then, because poetry rushes into the darknesses and silences of the world, these poems sing. -Cecily Parks, author of O'Nights
Jones had me at the table of contents. Hayden Carruth at a liquor store, Emily Dickinson, and Jim Morrison? Yes, please. As I moved through Reflections on the Dark Water, I fell in love with so much more. In the book's first poem, "The Bicycle," Jones tells us there is "nothing to displace the topography of ruin," save for movement or progress of some kind-hurrying feet or a spinning wheel. In his lyrical narratives, everything moves, even in the tiniest of shifts between sound and the absence of sound, the experience of loss and our memories of it, recovery and the realization that we cannot recover. In every poem, Jones deftly controls the movement of his language, often utilizing such haunting repetition you can't help but linger over each image. Reflections on the Dark Water is often dark; but, look carefully at what Jones wants you to see: there is beauty in our hope for ourselves and our world. Sometimes, as Jones describes, "is it hidden in plain sight."-Erica Dawson, author of When Rap Spoke Straigt to God


Sample poems available online and/or as a .pdf.

NOTE: This section is under construction.

Magna feugiat lorem

Adipiscing a commodo ante nunc magna lorem et interdum mi ante nunc lobortis non amet vis sed volutpat et nascetur.

Magna feugiat lorem

Adipiscing a commodo ante nunc magna lorem et interdum mi ante nunc lobortis non amet vis sed volutpat et nascetur.

"A Prayer for Lethe"

into these diminished forests calling:
out of the midnight of your exiles,
out of the private music at manic dawn,
out of the bitter-grown logic of your talk.


No upcoming readings and signings are currently scheduled, but if you would like to schedule a reading, please use the contact form below. Check back as 2024 draws nearer for updated information on the Losing the Dog book tour.


If you would like to schedule a reading, or just say something nice, please email me at madisonjones [at] uri [dot] edu (replace brackets with the appropriate symbol).

You can also get in touch the old fashioned way:
University of Rhode Island
Department of Writing & Rhetoric
Roosevelt Hall, Rm 324
Kingston, RI 02881