Major Jackson

(1968 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania))

Biography of Major Jackson

Major Jackson poet

Major Jackson (born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American poet and professor. He is the author of four collections of poetry: Roll Deep (W.W. Norton, 2015), Holding Company (W.W. Norton, 2010) and Hoops (W.W. Norton, 2006), finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry, and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2000 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle.

He earned degrees from Temple University and the University of Oregon. He is a professor of English at the University of Vermont and a faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars. He serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.

His poems have been published in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Poetry, and Tin House. His poetry has received critical attention in The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Parnassus, Philadelphia Inquirer, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His work has been included in anthologies such as The Best American Poetry 2004 (Scribner, 2004), The Pushcart Prize XXIX: Best of the Small Presses, (W.W. Norton & Company, 2004) Schwerkraft, From the Fishouse (Persea Books, 2009), and The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation (W.W. Norton & Company, 2010). In 2013 he edited Countee Cullen: Collected Poems, published by Library of America.

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Mighty Pawns

If I told you Earl, the toughest kid
on my block in North Philadelphia,
bow-legged and ominous, could beat
any man or woman in ten moves playing white,
or that he traveled to Yugoslavia to frustrate the bearded
masters at the Belgrade Chess Association,
you'd think I was given to hyperbole,
and if, at dinnertime, I took you
into the faint light of his Section 8 home

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