August 2, 2019

Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Recently Appointed Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Earns an Esteemed Poetry Fellowship to France

by Choya Randolph, MFA '18

When Jacqueline Jones LaMon, JD, was six years old, she wrote her first poem after being inspired by a lesson in school about Walt Whitman. Hundreds of poems later, LaMon is now an award-winning author who was recently appointed associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and was selected as a 2019 BAU Institute Fellow.  Under her BAU Arts Residency Award, she has been spending a month in Cassis, France, to focus on writing poetry.

Situated high atop a cliff overlooking Cap Canaille harbor and the Mediterranean Sea, the BAU Institute Residency is hosted by the Camargo Foundation to provide apartments and workspaces for artists in visual arts, film, performance and writing. LaMon will be working on her poetry manuscript What Water Knows.

“There are a few international fellowships that offer time and space to mid-career artists, and they are all extremely competitive,” said LaMon. “I’m very grateful to be among the 10 that were selected this year.”

When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, millions of people were affected. Lives were lost, homes were destroyed and there were almost 300 fatalities. LaMon’s home and entire community were vastly damaged, but as a result, she and her neighbors banded together to rebuild. Her community helped one another and learned how to help themselves. These events inspired LaMon’s poetry manuscript.

“As an African American woman, I have always been drawn to the lessons of the water and the teachings of the earth,” said LaMon. “There is a lesson for me to learn from the flow of the Mediterranean Sea at Camargo, from being present to witness the peacefulness of water while revisiting, through memory, the death it can cause, the passageway it can become.”

LaMon is the author of two collections, Last Seen, a Felix Pollak Poetry Prize selection, and Gravity, U.S.A., recipient of the Quercus Review Press Poetry Series Book Award; and the novel In the Arms of One Who Loves Me. She was noted by the NAACP in the category of Outstanding Literary Work, Poetry, and has been published in a variety of publications including POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Narrative Magazine, Ninth Letter, Mythium, Bellevue Literary Review and Crab Orchard Review.

Since 2006, LaMon has filled many roles at Adelphi. She’s been a professor, the director of the MFA in Creative Writing program, English Department chair and acting associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Appointed as the new associate dean in July, her responsibilities include faculty development and support, mentorship of early-career faculty, academic program evaluation and support and annual faculty reviews.

“I look forward to working with Jaci,” said Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I have learned from her deep faculty perspectives, relied on her thoughtful deliberation and methodic organization, and rejoiced in her winning the prestigious BAU Institute Fellowship.”


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