Major Jackson is an American poet, professor and the author of three collections of poetry: HOLDING COMPANY (W.W. Norton, 2010) and HOOPS (W.W. Norton, 2006), both finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry and LEAVING SATURN (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. He is also 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.
Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.
Most Recent Collection:
In Holding Company, Major Jackson explores art, literature, and music as a kingdom, or an empire, a dark, seductive force in our lives. In an effort to understand desire, beauty, and love as transient anodynes to metaphysical loneliness, he invokes Constantine Cavafy, Pablo Neruda, Anna Akhmatova, and Dante Rossetti.
"Jackson inherits the gesture of poet as hero from James Weldon Johnson's naming of the African-American host—'black and unknown bards'—as well as Eliot's ghosts of white literary tradition." —Afaa M. Weaver, Ploughshares
"Major Jackson makes poems that rumble and rock." —Dorianne Laux
"Leaving Saturn is largely about returning: to tradition, to a psychological landscape both American and African American, and to a recognition of that suffering without which 'how else/do we know we are here?' An ambitious debut, for which Major Jackson has coined an idiom and music all his own." —Carl Phillips
"Major Jackson has the talent to free himself to become whatever kind of poet he wants. . . . He will always have Philadelphia and his black roots as a source of 'tropes,' which he calls 'brutal, / relentless, miraculous. . .'—just like his poetry." —George Held, Philadelphia Inquirer