Jones writes with great serenity of soul as he constructs a false autobiography: highlighting travels to London and Paris; the separation, contemplation and reunion with his wife in the Italian countryside; morning tea with his daughter and running with his sons; flights with a pioneering aviator father and conversations with a deaf mother.
Jones’s biographical, narrative poems exist without artifice and pretense. In The Biscuit Tin, he recalls his father’s Kodachrome slides: 'I remember him sitting in the dark / behind the projector, the beam of light / shooting across the room, / the white screen filling with image after image, / the sound of locks opening.' ... Jones is the type of poet to send readers outside, or even to look within ourselves for emotions that we’ve taken for granted.
Stanger on Earth by Richard Jones is a collection of personal poems inspired by landscapes, ranging from Virginia to Italy, and beyond ... Almost all poetry is derived from memories, and Jones utilizes his memories of family, history, and culture to craft poems full of clear images and rich detail ... one of the most poignant poems, The Coffin Shop, 'I asked my grown boys if they remembered / the coffin shop. I’d taken them there // when they were little. The storefront / was only blocks from our old house // and driving by one day I’d stopped' ... The poem continues to describe a stroll around the shop to 'consider the timeless art.' The poem is about time and permanence. It captures a sentimental memory when the poet told his sons how much he loved them, and when that memory was buried in a coffin to retain its value and beauty: 'deep into those boxes of shiny satin and velvet.' ... The Black Raincoat: 'I’d like to say a good word of praise / for my long black raincoat'. The poet describes how the coat always protected him, as if an old friend, throughout his travels. Then one day he wears his raincoat to a funeral where it is hung from a hook with 'a few raindrops stubbornly clinging to the hem, / a few raindrops rolling down the empty sleeves / and falling.' The raincoat becomes a metaphor for hope in a room of sorrow ... Jones is an expert at finding eccentricities, finding the unusual in unusual, and then spotlighting them. He writes through exposition with clear images and detail.