- Open Places (Open Places poets series ; no. 37)
- And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New (1997)
- Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The beatitudes of the Spinners (1993)
- The Man with the White Liver (1987)
- Solo in the Boxcar Third Floor E (1985)
- The Greenville Club (chapbook) (1977)
- Voo Doo/Love Magic (1974)
- Witness! (1978)
- Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and love (1980)
- When the Wind Blows (1984)
by 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, plays, 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: Poems 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).
At least one other work has been published: Open Places which is number 37 in the Open Places poets series.
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 of 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 to 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.
- Poetry Society of America has article about Angela Jackson
- Interesting biography of Jackson on Answers.com from Oxford University Press (Oxford Companion to African American Literature).
- 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.
- 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.