Bones & Jokes

by Ted Jonathan

124 Pages, 6 x 9

Library of Congress Control Number:  2009929140

ISBN:  978-1-935520-01-6

Publication Date:  08/11/2009

Cover art and photo by Brooke Larsen


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In his first full-length collection, Bones & Jokes, published by NYQ Books, Ted Jonathan delivers up poems and stories out of a gritty urban reality that are as raw and original as the characters and streets from which they come. Jonathan weaves the language of the street into a rhythmic frenzy that pleases the ear in both his poetry and prose. He uses this lyricism like the stealth of a cat bringing its owner a mouse to seek a greater understanding of things like violent childhood icons, poker games, and hookers and lays that understanding at the feet of the reader as proof of life. Bones & Jokes is savage, joyous, profound and dead on funny, but behind it all is a gentle love and clear sanity that makes it all memorable.


In Bones & Jokes, Ted Jonathan, an anti-hero prizefighter of a poet and prose writer, gives us a work of startling dark beauty, thrilling rhythmic prose and storytelling poetry. He writes out of a gritty urban reality. This is noir at its best, its speech pared away yet lyrically lush. The collection has everything: violent childhood icons, Jewish giants and immigrant denizens. It is savage, brilliantly entertaining and dead on funny. I predict for Jonathan a wide readership.

—Stephanie Dickinson

Ted Jonathan, a Bronx poet to his core, unleashes fireballs of fury, and a cast of gripping characters that includes joggers, barbers, drug bandits, hookers, and at least one serial killer. But he also gives free rein to love, love for a broken world and its undeniable shouts to be helped.

—Angelo Verga

Ted Jonathan's Bones & Jokes is filled with tales of survival told in a big bass of a voice moving to the steady beat of, let's say, a boxer pounding a body bag in an empty, lonely gym. The writing is blunt and brash filled with subway track swagger. It's plain spoken, precise, and full of purpose. And oh yeah, maybe most essential, it has the sick crazy laugh through the nose humor that endears and redeems itself and makes you want to go back and read these pieces one more time, and then again.

—Tony Gloeggler