In this collection of essays, talks, and reviews, Major Jackson revels in the work of poetry not only to limn and assess the intellectual and spiritual dimensions of poets, but to amplify the controversies and inner conflicts that define our age: political unrest, climate crises, the fallout from bewildering traumas, and the social function of the art of poetry itself. Accessible and critically minded, Jackson returns to the poem as an unparalleled source of linguistic pleasure that structures a multilayered “lyric self.” In his interviews, Jackson illustrates poetry’s distinct ability to mediate the inexplicable while foregrounding the possibilities of human song.
Collected over several decades, these essays find Jackson praising mythmaking in Frank Bidart and Ai’s poetry, expressing bafflement at the silence of white-identified poets in the cause of social and racial justice, unearthing the politics behind Gwendolyn Brooks’s Pulitzer Prize, and marveling at the “hallucinatory speed of thought” in a diverse range of poets including Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Brenda Hillman, Afaa Michael Weaver, Forrest Gander, and Terrance Hayes. This collection passionately surveys the radical shifts of the art and notes poetry as a necessity for a modern sensibility.
Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry is an anthology of poems by more than one hundred award-winning poets, including Jericho Brown, Justin Philip Reed, and Tracy K. Smith, with themed essays on poetics from celebrated scholars such as Kwame Dawes, Meta DuEwa Jones, and Evie Shockley. The Furious Flower Poetry Center is the nation’s first academic center for Black poetry. In this eponymous collection, editors Joanne V. Gabbin and Lauren K. Alleyne bring together many of the paramount voices in Black poetry and poetics active today, composing an electrifying mosaic of voices, generations, and aesthetics that reveals the Black narrative in the work of twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers. Intellectually enlightening and powerfully enlivening, Furious Flower explores and celebrates the idea of the Black poetic voice by posing the question, What’s next for Black poetic expression?