Stephen Jonas

1921–1970

Poet Stephen Jonas was part of the Boston poetry scene in the 1960s. Though little is known of his origins, including his date of birth, it is known that Jonas was gay and of mixed race and underwent periods of addiction and mental illness. He was influenced by Charles Olson and Ezra Pound, and his poetry exhibits qualities of both Olson’s “projectivist verse” and jazz.

Jonas’s work is available in Selected Poems (1994), edited by Joseph Torra, which contains his 100-page poem “Exercises for Ear” and the poem “Orgasms.” Jonas is also one of four poets featured in T.J. Anderson III’s study of jazz poetry, Notes to Make the Sound Come Right: Four Innovators of Jazz Poetry (2004). Jonas died in 1970.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

LIFE SPAN 1921–1970

Biography

Poet Stephen Jonas was part of the Boston poetry scene in the 1960s. Though little is known of his origins, including his date of birth, it is known that Jonas was gay and of mixed race and underwent periods of addiction and mental illness. He was influenced by Charles Olson and Ezra Pound, and his poetry exhibits qualities of both Olson’s “projectivist verse” and jazz. Jonas’s work is available in Selected Poems (1994), edited . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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