Paradise Root-stock, 2008, Stonington Publishers, Great Barrington, MA

“In his debut poetry collection, Jon Wolston turns his powers of observation to the fleeting and momentary elements of life that, like Thomas Gray’s legendary flower, are “born to blush unseen,” often escaping our notice. With a practiced eye and ear, Wolston has jotted down a robust medley of such occasions for our pleasure and reflection. In these pages, a daddy-long-legs shows up as an unexpected dinner guest, a beloved pet dies suddenly, and lady slippers speak in the Vermont night. The communion that Wolston models is sometimes somber, sometimes whimsical, but always stark in its accuracy and in its capacity to convey a deep regard for the world.”

Pulled In to Providence, 2011, Stonington Publishers, Great Barrington, MA

” In his second collection, Jon Wolston hones in on life’s rough surfaces with a spirited ‘ititude of grititude.’ Like the railroad line that graced Walden Pond before Thoreau put up his hut and which still clicks and clacks to this day, our society hurtles along, ever encircling us. This ‘wagging of lifeness’ rattles the chandeliers of our stillness. In these pages, blue-suited flight techs cheer the Mars landing, Fat Bastard tickles the author’s wife, and whining leaf blowers herald springtime. Wolston’s poetry honors the insurgent power of such events to command our attention, ferret out our arrested inner ways, and inaugurate an under-valued call…recalculating…to live the truth of what it is we can be.”

Two Tars, 2014, Stonington Publishers, Great Barrington, MA

“In ‘Two Tars,’ Jon Wolston explores the psyche’s shadowy archipelago of fear and death, putting his back into it, like a good deckhand, and coming up soaked to the marrow. He finds himself far from ‘ready to be swallowed up’ and clearly over his head
as regards navigation—as hard as that is to swallow, at least in a single gulp. In these pages, a once-beloved lake keeps gnawing away at his boat. A chess-playing barge captain scoffs at safety drills. Even a tiny mink poses a furious challenge. Wolston’s poetry grapples with the mysteries of the rebellious spirit in all ages, its transforming power, and the stark perils of long disowning that power.”

Available on inter-library loan from:
Providence (RI) Athenaeum,, (401) 421-6970,
Crook County (OR) Library,, (541) 447-7978.

Four poems anthologized in The 2010 Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire , edited by John-Michael Albert, and available online from The Poetry Society of NH.

4 Responses to Books

  1. goodlady says:

    Hello, Jon Wolston. We met once about 7 years ago by chance when we both showed up at Brown’s music building, Orgell (?) for what turned out to be an exciting country music jam session where i saw for the first time three local musicians I have followed ever since and come to know–Phil Edmunds, Chris Turner, and Consuelo Sherba. Your first book of poetry had just come out, you had one with you, I happened to have some cash, and so i bought one that I have still. We were both newly retired, I from teaching literature, mainly poetry, at Providence College, and you from your psychiatric work, and we were both reveling in the abundance of cultural activities and natural splendors of being retired in Providence. I think we exchanged some emails because I liked your poetry so much, and then life moved on.

    Yesterday, I had been planning to go to a poetry workshop at Epoch because I have a dear friend there and have been going with her when I can to relish Rick Benjamin’s wonderful work and to spend time with my friend Elaine Lieberman. But I got the time wrong, got there way too early, thought I had the wrong date, and so left. Elaine called last night to ask why I hadn’t come and told me that you had come with Frances, whom i know through these poetry groups. Elaine said that your poem was clearly a “real” one and not an amateur one. I was so sorry, when she describe you and I knew immediately who you were, that I had missed you.

    I’m planning again to go to Epoch in a little while because the local park ranger who is an expert on Roger Williams will be there, and so I told Elaine i would bring her my copy of “Paradise Root-stock” to borrow. One of the joys of Rhode island that helps to make it such a secret jewel is that it glitters with poetry, music, and art. Just this morning, I was listening bright and early to Garrison Keillor giving his Poetry Foundation news for the day on radio and was delighted when he read a poem that i already knew, Tom Chandler’s “So Much Depends,” which is such a fine response to William Carlos Williams’s poem and such a fine sample of the work of another local poet.

    I’ve been trying to think of a birthday present for a local friend who loves the outdoors and nature and nature poetry, and all of this helped me to realize that I will get her “Pulled into Providence” for her birthday in July–and of course I’ll read it first.

    So I am taking a moment to say hello again after several years. Clearly, you are flourishing. I expect you too are still enjoying so much that Rhode Island has to offer. So sorry to have missed you yesterday at Epoch.

    All the best,
    Ellen Goodman


    • jonwolston says:

      Hi Ellen,

      How great to hear from you. I remember your poem about Penelope that went right over my head! That was an exciting, creative time, and the energy seems to be returning. I plan to return to Epoch for more Rick Benjamin (isn’t he great?) so I hope I run into you there. I was the guest of Frances Dennison on Monday.
      Thank you for your interest in my poetry, I loved hearing your fond words about RI and its arts community.


  2. goodlady says:

    Hi, Jon,
    It’s great to hear from you too. I too plan to go to Epoch for Rick’s next workshop. He is indeed great. And i know Frances Dennison a little from going to the poetry workshops. Most of the people who go are so fascinating, and Frances certainly is–very thoughtful, incisive, interesting. I will hope to see you there. Such serendipity!


  3. Hi Jon: I am new to your archive, and find it wonderful. Can you contact me? I have a question for you about a book that I am working on. Thanks


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