Ever since she read a poem about Harriet Tubman in elementary school, Ashley M. Jones has been writing poetry. She’s founded the Magic City Poetry Festival. She has a new book coming out in September. And her latest accolade: Jones is now Alabama’s poet laureate, a goal she has long wanted to achieve.
“I dreamed of being Alabama state poet laureate, U.S. poet laureate, a Nobel laureate. These are all my dreams since the age of four,” she said.
Jones was named the next poet laureate of the state during the Alabama Writers Cooperative’s yearly meeting on Sunday. She knew the commendation was in the works but said it still felt surreal.
“I couldn’t help but feel like it wasn’t real life because so much work culminated in this moment. So, I felt excited and scared and happy and just very humbled, honestly, that people would want me.”
At 31, Jones made Alabama history as the first Black poet laureate and the youngest. She said it shouldn’t have taken this long to appoint a person of color.
“I feel honored to open that door, but I also feel like I want people to realize that I shouldn’t have been the first in 2021.”