Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Poets and Poems: Major Jackson and “Holding Company”

It’s been some time since we had one of our Tweetspeak Poetry parties on Twitter – online poetry jams playing off prompts from memoirs, poems, plays, or other literary works. I miss them; Tweetspeak itself was born in a poetry party moment. Editing the submissions into coherent poems can be a challenge; aligning lines of five, ten, or twenty people tweeting in response to a prompt or each other can look daunting at best or chaotic at worst. That is, until you find the theme or idea that brings order to the chaos, and often brings it suddenly.

Reading the 80 poems of Holding Company, the 2010 poetry collection by Major Jackson, is a similar experience. Jackson brings together ideas, themes, phrases, and often jolting metaphors in these poems, surprising, perplexing, and sometimes shocking the reader. And then the understanding comes, and with a smack of the head, the reader asks, “Why didn’t I see that immediately?” It may be because Jackson leads the eye and mind to a different understanding and a different context.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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