Mississippi Writers and Musicians
MISSISSIPPI WRITERS: Angela Jackson


Angela Jackson Angela Jackson

Major Works

  • Voo Doo/Love Magic (book of poetry)
  • The Greenville Club (chapbook)
  • Solo in the Boxcar Third Floor E, 1985 (book of poetry)
  • The Man with the White Liver (book of poetry)
  • Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners (book of poetry)
  • And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New, 1998 (book of poetry)
  • Witness! (play)
  • Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and Love (play)
  • When the Wind Blowsay) (play)
  • Open Places (Open Places poets series ; no. 37)

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Biography of Angela Jackson
By Nancy Ward (SHS)Nancy Ward (SHS)

Angela Jackson is native of Mississippi who is known for her rich talent and wonderful versatility in writing literature.  She has written many volumes of poems, several short stories, and a popular romance novel.  Although she is very versatile, Angela is best known for her talent in writing poetry.  Her use of metaphors and intensive language is admired by many, and she is also very well known as an incredible reader in public of her own poetry and stories.

Angela was born in Greenville, Mississippi, on July 25, 1951.  She was the fifth child of George and Angeline Jackson, and  four siblings  followed her.  Angela spent her earliest years living in Greenville, but her family later moved to Chicago, Illinois.  She stayed in Chicago during college and attended its prestigious Northwestern University, where she received influenced by Mississippi writer Margaret Walker, who was a visiting professor at the time.Jackson graduated from NU's College of Arts and Sciences in 1977. During the 1970's in Chicago, Jackson became one of the most desired readers and performers because she was able to master the art of pause and rhythm during a performance.

Jackson is also very well know for her involvement in Chicago's Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC).  The influence of this organization has had a great effect on Jackson's writing.  Its main goal was to advance "the conscious development and articulation of Black Aesthetic."  Members are encouraged to express in words the "Black Experience" and also pay attention to and focus on the works of other African American authors.

Jackson has completed many works in her lifetime and will probably produce more.  Her books of poetry include Voo Doo/Love Magic (1974), The Greenville Club (chapbook) (1977), Solo in the Boxcar Third Floor E (1985), and The Man with the White Liver (1987). Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The beatitudes of the Spinners (1993) was voted by The Chicago Sun-Times one of the four best Chicago books of 1993. And All These Roads Be Luminous: oems Selected and New was published in 1997.  Her plays include Witness! (1978), Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and love (1980), and When the Wind Blows (1984).

2008 UPDATE: At least one other work has been published: Open Places which is number 37 in the Open Places poets series.

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A Review of And All These Roads Be Luminous:
Poems Selected and New

by Nancy Ward (SHS)

Angela Jackson's And All These Roads Be Luminous:  Poems Selected and New is a very deep and outstanding collection of poetry.  She uses her incredible knowledge of life and literature to mix history and feeling and gives the reader a sense of connection with  the poet.  Her poems consist of life, love, joy, pain, and mystery, which is what everyone experiences in their day to day life.  Jackson intrigues the reader by her punctuation and placement of words on the page, her incredible metaphors, and her ability to help the reader relate to her everyday life.

Jackson's punctuation and placement of words on the page pulls the reader into her poetry.  It helps the reader feel what is important to Jackson and what she feels is distant from one another.  It also leaves the reader in a state ofAnd All These Roads Be Luminous by Angela Jackson suspense.  For example, in her poem "Voo Doo/Love Magic,"  Jackson speaks of how she is going to get into your head and insides and put a love spell on you.  In the last line of the poem she states:  "I'm gonna put a hex on you."  The lack of a closing parenthesis in this final statement leaves the reader in a state of suspense.  The reader feels as if it really isn't over and something more is to come, specifically the hex.  Another example of how Jackson uses punctuation and placement of words is in her poem "Making the Name."  In this poem, she speaks of how she can get so wrapped up in her poetry that she feels "drunk" from "half a cup of syllables," and she says, "Call me she who is made word inebriated."  Finally she speaks of how she is the "name of  peace,/and drunken victory."  In the last two lines, Jackson writes:  "the luscious part/-ing of speech."  The placement of the word parting on two different lines helps the reader to feel the separation of what Jackson is saying.

In her use of metaphors, Jackson makes the reader understand the similarity of simple things in our day to day life.  In her poem "Loving" Jackson speaks of how loving someone is like making a cake.  Both have certain ingredients that must be used.  Certain steps have to be done in a specific order, and both must be developed in the right manner for everything to turn out correctly.  "It all/has to be/there."  Also, in her poem "Mr. Snake, I Don't Like You," Jackson compares snakes to certain types of men.  She speaks of the kind of men that one doesn't want to bring home to  parents, the kind who are overly protective of himself and his possessions, and the kind who cannot close his eyes long enough to dream while he sleeps.

Another way that Jackson intrigues her reader is by writing of familiar subjects Open Places by Angela Jacksonto which readers can relate.  In her poem "The Autumn Men," Jackson speaks of the familiar smells and scenes of the men of the family raking leaves and taking care of yard work while the young girls think about their chance to love and be loved in that atmosphere.  Also, in her poem "The Cost of Living," Jackson talks about how hard life can be sometimes and that it is almost not worth living.  Readers can relate to this poem because almost everyone at some point in his or her life feels this way.

Angela Jackson's poetry is deep and very intriguing at times.  She has a magical way with words that captivates her readers.  I enjoyed many poems in this book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in studying poetry.

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Nancy Ward's favorite poem

VooDoo/Love Magic
by Angela Jackson

                   I'm gon put a hex on you
                    work some voo-doo magic
                               on
                               yo mind.

                    I'mma mess wid you.

                    I'm gon set a love tune
                               in yo heart
                    have you singing Me
                    from morning till noon to
                   mid/
                    night.  You cain't help
                                yoself.
                    Baby
                    I'm gon own yo Soul.

                    Gonna do to you
                    what you done to me/
                               and mo/
                    ...wake you up at fo
                    just to
                    call my name
                         make you see my face/
                    in yo mirror
                         have you hearing my voice/
                    in the wind
                    you/
                    better/
                    Watch/out

                    Cuz
                         I'm getting
                         into yo head-

                    Ready to do a love thang
                    to yo in/
                              sides
                    Workin voo-doo on u/Doin Black/
                                         Woman/Love
                                         Magic
                                         to
                                         U.

                    (I'm gon put a hex on you)

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Related Websites

Centerstage provides info on Angela Jackson.

Brief description of And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New  Poems by Angela Jackson.  Triquarterly Books Paperback. Publication date: January 1998

Poetry Society of America has article by Angela Jackson called What is American About American Poetry?

Angela Jackson  received the $1,000 Daniel Curley Award for "Great Zimbabwe," in TriQuarterly. The Curley Award is given to one of the Literary Award winners for the best work of short fiction.

Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century By E. Ethelbert Miller has The Fitting Room by Jackson to read online.

Dark Legs and Silk KissesInteresting biography of Jackson from Answers.com from Oxford University Press.

Northwestern University highlights Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners by Angela Jackson, which was the Winner of the Carl Sandburg Award for Poetry in 1993.

Smith College's Poetry Center provides three poems by Jackson.


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Bibliography

Scot Peacock, Ed. Contemporary Authors, Vol. 176.  Farmington Hills, MI:  Gale Group, Inc., 1999.

Trudier Harris and Thadious M. Davis, Ed. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol 41: Afro-American Poets Since 1955. Ann  Arbor, MI:  Gale Research Company, 1985.

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Last updated in Novemer, 2009
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