The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

My Timeless Verse

Every poet aspires to write at least one poem that someone will remember and think good after a number of years. We usually don’t live to know whether we’ve accomplished that. But e-mail today gave me some hope and confirmation.

In 1980, I won or was finalist in The Cold Mountain Review Poetry Contest. As a result, I was invited to Boone, NC and to Appalachian State University for a dinner, a panel and a reading and later, as was the style of the period, late night drinking.

I met the editors, R. T. Smith (now at Washington and Lee University editing Shenandoah) and Charles Frazier (later known as the author of Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons). I was even more amazed that the home of the Department Head (I think) who hosted the late night party had central vacuum connections. Little portals that suck in each room. Much delight was obtained.

Now 27 years later the poem that took me up the mountain, “Feet,” [JPG of the poem] has been selected by 35th anniversary issue editor Joseph Bathanti to represent 1980.

Thanks, Joe and Rod and Charles.


  1. cool!

    are you going to post the poem?

  2. Paul

    2/21/2007 at 8:41 pm

    Err as soon as I can find a copy. My record keeping exposes me as a sham of an archivist. I think it may be in my papers at the Southern Historical Collection tho.

  3. Paul

    2/21/2007 at 8:46 pm

    Genevieve Packer at Cold Mountain Review just sent me a JPG of the poem. Will add at the article level later.

  4. lovely, paul. social change in the south + hanging on franklin street.

    free verse. very nice. bukowski calls the other type of poets “rhymers”, and uses it as an epithet.

    what do you think about formal poetic structure? it certainly benefits haiku, where the authour must consider every syllable, weighing it for its role in the poem. but if ‘feet’ were written as a sonnet, it would (imnsho) lose all of the melancholy that it carries. how many times can you rhyme “blood” or “lint”?

  5. btw, i wasnt in ch in 1980, but it realy captures the feel of the streets in those days, before urban renewal and gentrification took over the south. i was in gboro in the early 80s and the people and the society there were as good as walking wounded, bleeding on the sidewalk. i walked in that blood for 5 years, and left plenty of it for others to trod in, then decided that being a computer programmer was the means of escape, the giant space rocket that would pull me out of that sticky mess on the sidewalk. worked, sorta.

    thx for the poem, paul. now i really am motivated to read “The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills”.

  6. Paul

    2/27/2007 at 8:40 pm

    Most all of my recent poems are formalist, stress and syllable aware and rhymed. see other poem links on this blog and/or at the news and observer where i have become a newspaper poet.

  7. there once was a lady from shanghai
    who pressed the 0 button once too many times
    markets cooked like weenies,
    traders had second martinis,
    then advised all their clients to buy!

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