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Pooler Magazine

Lou Jones: Pooler’s Premier Poet

Lou Jones: Pooler’s Premier Poet


𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐛𝐲 𝐂𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐲 𝐑𝐞𝐢𝐝            
𝐏𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐡𝐲 𝐛𝐲 𝐋𝐞𝐢𝐝𝐲 𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫


Writer Lou Jones put it best: “At 88 years old, I have confounded some people.” Since retiring from a lengthy business career, Pooler resident Lou Jones has published four poetry collections, From Microbe to Consciousness, After the Blast, So You Want to be a Poet and Of Poetry and Poets and a novel, And Then the Monarchs Flew Away.

Like other well regarded poets, Lou has a background far removed from what we imagine writers do all day. For example, Charles Bukowski worked in a post office, Wallace Stevens was a lawyer, Walt Whitman a government clerk, and William Carlos Williams was famously a practicing physician. Seen in that light, Lou’s career at Caterpillar,Inc. (the world's largest manufacturer of construction equipment.) and as a Marine Corps veteran serve as the rich base for his “second act” as an award winning poet.

After 45 years at Caterpillar, which included military leave for three years in the United States Marine Corps on an aircraft carrier, Lou retired as a division manager at their then headquarters in Illinois. He and his wife Toni then relocated to Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Georgia, where he explored creative writing in earnest.

“During my working years I occasionally authored and published technical papers for business magazines and journals, which were well received,” says Lou. “And like many retirees, I thought I would write the ‘Great American Novel.’” To that end he joined the Greensboro Writers’ Guild.

“As a member of the guild, I was introduced to excellent poetry and prose by talented writers and I began to experiment with my own writing,” he says. “I didn’t know beans about writing poetry but eventually I started writing free verse.” He was 72 when he wrote his first poems. “The first one was about butterflies,” he laughs.

The writer’s guild’s weekly meetings where the members read and critiqued each other’s work was instrumental in his development as a writer.

𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 & 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬

Lou wrote at least 17 pre-publication poems before writing the poems that formed his first book From Microbe to Consciousness. He was encouraged to publish by Mildred White Greear, a renowned award-winning educator and poet from Helen, Georgia, who subsequently agreed to write the introduction to his book, noting that: “Clearly stated Lou’s goals are to connect with his family and friends, and if others should come across the workings of his mind so much the better. The wide-ranging subject matter, family dogs to the linearity of time, startle the reader with their honesty and fearlessness….

I am grateful to come to terms with the fact of time as parsed by Lou, the truth that a billionth of a second does exist. And, that there are secrets still. And that none knows this better than poets such as Lou Jones, and the other such totally engaged ones who will see to us doing our own homework as time comes and goes.” – by Mildred White Greear, author of Lullaby for Mary, A Species of Ruin, At The Edge, Moving Gone Dancing.

After self-publishing several books (a traditional route for most poets) Lou’s third book, Of Poetry and Poets was published by the Georgia Poetry Society and went on to win the 2021 Georgia Poetry Society Charles Dickson Chapbook Award. (Chapbooks are generally poetry books no more than 40 pages long.) “It was the first time I won an award of any kind,” says Lou, “It really did feel pretty good.”

Since then his poetry has gone on to win several other honors, most recently the prestigious Federation of State Poetry Societies’ Founders First Place Award.

Says Lou: “I had worked on my poem ‘Ginsberg’ for so long. The poet Allen Ginsberg was a fascinating man and my poem covered various aspects of his life. It was 100 lines, which was the length limit, so it fit the criteria. I thought it was good and I submitted it to the NFSPS contest.” Evidently the judges agreed as it took first place in the Founders Award category.

The NFSPS annual anthology, Encore Prize Poems 2022, features the top 159 poems in 50 categories from winners across the U.S. and the world and features ‘Ginsberg’ as the opening poem to the collection.


Lou says for him writing is labor intensive and requires diligence. “Inspiration is never ordered. I am not one of those who writes something everyday. I have an ‘in process file’, which is sometimes just a single line, and I'll try and touch them up.”

His work covers terrain from humankind’s origins and science related topics to homelessness (poem Hobo?)
and running (poem Sanibel Sunrise).
He says “love poems are the hardest to write because it’s hard to avoid the pretentious cliches.” However his poem ‘Paperwhite’ is a refreshing love poem
that avoids the banal.


“I believe as we age it is vital to stay on the move—nurture the balance between body, mind, and spirit, and therein make the most of our remaining time. While we make concessions to our spent years, let go of some things, it is important to open new doors, take on new endeavors—enrich our lives in new and satisfying ways.”

𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲

After Greensboro, Lou and Toni downsized and moved to Pooler where they reside in Savannah Quarters with a view of the fairway. They are frequent visitors to Sanibel Island, Florida, and are planning their first trip back since Hurricane Ian devastated the island in 2022. They enjoy walking the beach and shelling. “It’s just the utter relaxation we find there,” says Lou.

Locally they enjoy dining out at Sam Snead’s Oak Grill & Tavern in Savannah and their favorite place in Pooler is five o’clock happy hour right on their own front porch.