Reviews: Major Jackson’s Holding Company

In a part of Philadelphia, born and raised writing and teaching poems is how Major Jackson spends most of his days. Four years after his most known collection of poems, Hoops, Jackson takes the reader on a rhythmic and musical journey with his third volume of poetry, titled “Holding Company.”

Jackson shows the reader exactly how poetry should be done in a post 9/11 time period. This volumes consists of 80 unique ten-line poems that are sure to quench the aural thirst of any reader. Jackson’s poems feel the mouth with memorable syllables and language that the reader will be sure to pick up and re-read throughout his or her day.

In the poem “White Power,” Jackson sets the reader up for what may seem like a slap in the face to American society, instead he distances himself from the subject matter of the poem, using the images in the poem as a vehicle to bring the reader to his or her own conclusion. For example:

As it happened, I was twirling a cauliflower floret,
lost in Lewis’s wardrobe of pallid trees,
considering my country’s longing for homogenized milk
& bags of tube socks from Walmart,
which felt cancerous. (1-5)

Jackson’s humour and wit mixed with his knack for sound propel the reader quickly down the page to the end of the poem. Once the end of the poems are reached, the epiphany moment a reader has will warrant another thorough read only to reach another conclusion through interpretation and meditation.

With the likes of poems such as “Mondes en Collision,” “Designer Kisses,” Shortbus,” “Strangers Are Not Strangers,” “Autumn Landscape,” “My Awe Is a Weakness,” and “You, who carry daylight on your face” this volume of poetry is a must-read. Recently published in August 2010, this book can change any perspective on contemporary poets. Jackson is changing the way poetry should be in our day and age.

This would also make a wonderful Christmas present for anyone interested in poetry. You can never put a value on prodigious literature.

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