Major Jackson

Acclaimed Poet & Teacher

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  • An Evening with Major Jackson

Biography

“Major Jackson makes poems that rumble and rock.” —Dorianne Laux

“Jackson knows the truth of black magic. It is a magic as simple as the belief in humanity that subverts racism, or the esoteric and mystical magic of making jazz, the music of hope and love.” —Afaa Weaver

Major Jackson is the author of five collections of poetry: The Absurd Man (2020); Roll Deep (2015); Holding Company (2010); Hoops (2006), all published by W.W. Norton; and Leaving Saturn (2002) by University of Georgia Press. Holding Company and Hoops were both selected as finalists for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry; and Leaving Saturn, awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. In The Absurd Man, inspired by Albert Camus’s seminal Myth of Sisyphus, Jackson’s fifth volume subtly configures the poet as “absurd hero” and plunges headfirst into a search for stable ground in an unstable world. In Roll Deep, he appropriated the vernacular notion of “rolling deep” to explore human intimacy and war, seeking a rhythmic sound that expresses the realities of the twenty-first century.

Jackson has published poems and essays in American Poetry Review, Callaloo, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, and in Best American Poetry. He served as guest editor of Best American Poetry in 2019. A recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, and a Whiting Writers’ Award, he has been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

Jackson has served as a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Adelphi University, a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence. He is a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He serves as the Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review.

Major Jackson lives in South Burlington, Vermont, where he is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at the University of Vermont.

Short Bio

Major Jackson is the author of five collections of poetry: The Absurd ManRoll DeepHolding CompanyHoops; and Leaving Saturn, which was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. His poems and essays have appeared in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, and in Best American Poetry. He served as guest editor of Best American Poetry in 2019. Jackson is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, 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.

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