Hettie Jones is a poet and prose writer, author of How I Became Hettie Jones , a memoir of the "beat scene" of the fifties and sixties, published in 1990 (hardcover, Dutton) and 1991 (paper, Penguin) and currently available in a paperback edition from Grove Press. Jones's short prose has been published in journals such as The Village Voice, Global City Review and Ploughshares, and she has also written numerous books for children and young adults, including an ALA Notable, The Trees Stand Shining, published in 1971 and reissued in 1993, and Big Star Fallin' Mama (Five Women In Black Music), selected in 1974 by the New York Public Library as one of the twenty best new books for young adults. Reissued in 1995 in a revised edition, it was included on Bank Street's list of Children's Books of the Year, and is still listed by the Library as recommended teen age reading.
In 1998 Jones's poetry collection, Drive , was issued by Hanging Loose Press. Hailed as the work of a "potent and fearless poet" ( Booklist) , with "a good mind and sound ideas" ( Independent Publisher) and "the gift to paint with vivid words and to cloak her wit with images that linger in the mind long after the reading" ( Midwest Book Review) , Drive won the Poetry Society of America's 1999 Norma Farber First Book Award. Jones's second collection, All Told, was published in 2003); the Publishers Weekly review mentions her "knowing urban wit" and her "acute compassion and humor"; the Booklist review cites the book as "rock-solid."
The author of two previous chapbooks, Having Been Her and For Four Hetties, Jones has been reading her poetry and short stories for many years at various venues from cafes to colleges. She is a longtime editor for many of the major publishing houses, and has taught writing at NYU, Hunter College, Mercy College, the State University of New York at Purchase, Parsons School of Design, the 92nd Street Y, New School University, Penn State University, and the University of Wyoming. She is currently at Eugene Lang College, the Graduate Writing Program of New School University, and Long Island University. Jones is the former Chair of the PEN Prison Writing Committee, and from 1989-2002 ran a writing workshop at the New York State Correctional Facility for Women at Bedford Hills, from which she published a nationally distributed collection, Aliens At The Border . From 1994-1996 she was a member of the Literature Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts. She is now serving on the Board of Directors of Cave Canem, an organization in support of young African American poets.
In 2004 Jones co-authored No Woman No Cry , a memoir, with Bob Marley's widow Rita. She recently co-authored From Midnight to Dawn (The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad) with Jacqueline Tobin, due from Doubleday in January 2007. Also due out next January, from Hanging Loose, is her latest poetry collection, Doing Seventy.