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February 1, 2008AWP Conference, Hilton Hotel, New York City From the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

Major Jackson was born and raised in Philadelphia, where he pursued his degree in accounting at Temple University.

In the late 1990s, he joined the Dark Room Collective, an organization that gave greater visibility to emerging and established writers of color and included Thomas Sayers Ellis, John Keene, Janice Lowe, Carl Phillips, Tracy K. Smith, Sharan Strange, Natasha Trethewey, Artress Bethany White, and Kevin Young, among others.

He is the author of Roll Deep (W. W. Norton, 2015), Holding Company (W. W. Norton, 2010), Hoops (W. W. Norton, 2006), and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. 

He is a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. He also was a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Currently, he serves as the poetry editor of the Harvard Review.

Jackson teaches at the Bennington Writing Seminars and University of Vermont, where he is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor. He lives in South Burlington, Vermont.

Picket Monsters (audio only)

 

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Major Jackson

Major Jackson

Major Jackson is the author of Roll Deep (W. W. Norton, 2015), Holding Company (W. W. Norton, 2010), Hoops (W. W. Norton, 2006), and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002).

by this poet

poem

I have not disappeared.
The boulevard is full of my steps. The sky is
full of my thinking. An archbishop
prays for my soul, even though
we only met once, and even then, he was
busy waving at a congregation.
The ticking clocks in Vermont sway

back and forth as though sweeping

poem

The mountains are at their theater again,
each ridge practicing an oration of scale and crest,
and the sails, performing glides across the lake, complain
for being out-shadowed despite their gracious
bows. Thirteen years in this state, what hasn’t occurred?
A cyclone in my spirit led to

2
poem
          1.

When you have forgotten (to bring into 
   Play that fragrant morsel of rhetoric, 
Crisp as autumnal air), when you 
   Have forgotten, say, sun-lit corners, brick 
   Full of skyline, rowhomes, smokestacks, 
Billboards, littered rooftops & wondered 
What bread wrappers reflect of our hunger
2