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About this poet

A. Van Jordan was born on March 5, 1965, in Akron, Ohio. He received his BA in English literature from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and his MA in communications from Howard University in Washington, D.C. While in Washington, D.C., Jordan began to attend poetry readings and became interested in writing poetry. In 1998, he earned his MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jordan has published four books of poetry: The Cineaste: Poems (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013); Quantum Lyrics (W. W. Norton & Company, 2007); M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005), winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and Rise (Tia Chucha Press, 2001), winner of the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award.

Jordan’s poetry is influenced by music, film, race, history, and pop culture. His most recent book, The Cineaste, marries his love of film with poetry in pieces that re-examine a wide range of seminal films such as Nosferatu (1922), The Homesteader (1919), Run Lola Run (1998), and Oldboy (2003) through the perspectives of both the voyeur and the character onscreen. In his review of The Cineaste, poet Terrance Hayes said, “With an imagination illuminated by empathy, Jordan inhabits the eye of the camera, the eye of the actor, and the ‘I’ of a viewer tethered to image and history. These terrific poems give shape to lives made of light.”

Jordan has been awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Lannan Literary Award, and the Whiting Writers' Award, as well as fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and United States Artists, among others. A professor of English and literature at the University of Michigan, he lives in Ann Arbor.


Bibliography

The Cineaste: Poems (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013)
Quantum Lyrics (W. W. Norton & Company, 2007)
M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005)
Rise (Tia Chucha Press, 2001)

in • cho • ate

MacNolia Cox

in cho • ate (♥) adj. Only begun or entered upon; incipient. As when ribbons of light peer through inchoate air, before the thought of loss or love come into focus, as when the first glance of a stranger brushes over you, and, for that breath of time, you wonder if time has double-crossed you; you wonder if this could be the start of a new ending, or if this look—this probe up your spine, this eye on your leg, neck, lips, hair—could come from a ghost of someone—someone, mind you, who you thought you deserved; someone, mind you, who taught you how not to love—whose hand opens like your mouth once did while saying, with innocence, Yes, over and over again.

From M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A: Poems by A. Van Jordan. Copyright © 2004 by A. Van Jordan. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

From M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A: Poems by A. Van Jordan. Copyright © 2004 by A. Van Jordan. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

A. Van Jordan

A. Van Jordan

A. Van Jordan has published four books of poetry: The Cineaste: Poems (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013); Quantum Lyrics (W. W. Norton & Company, 2007); M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005), winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and Rise (Tia Chucha Press, 2001), winner of the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award.

by this poet

poem

TIME REVIEW:

Before, we pictured her without diamonds,
Without sequined gowns and a face of paint.
We could see that this show was not the time
For a lithe St. Louis girl of her race
To flaunt her flanks in front of New York men.

poem

 

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2
poem
Prospero

Assume, just for a moment, 
I am denied a job
in the factory of my dreams
under the fluorescent lights
of a porcelain white foreman.

It’s orderly and neat.
I feed my family.
No one questions my face.
I raised my son in my likeness,
so he would never go unseen,

bobbing on a wave of expectation
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