UVM Poet Recognized

Leaving Saturn,” the first collection of poetry by Major Jackson, assistant professor of English at the University of Vermont, has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. In a July 2002 review in the Boston Globe, “Leaving Saturn” was described by critic David Mills as “an homage to the inner-city ugly ducking, which, through Jackson’s humanistic powers, is transformed into a swan.” Jackson’s poems speak of his passions — music, urban life, the power and beauty of language, and the struggle, dignity and brilliance of African Americans. The book’s title alludes to avant garde jazz great Sun Ra. Jackson, who joined UVM in 2002, said he was “stunned” at hearing of his nomination for the prestigious award. “I feel like a bonsai in a forest of redwood,” he said. “I am simply happy to be named and associated with my heroes, the other nominees. They are all fantastic, masterful writers of verse. This is the honor for me.” As reported by the Associated Press on Jan. 14, Jackson’s fellow finalists in the poetry category are B. H. Fairchild, Harryette Mullen, Sharon Olds and Adam Zagajewski. An alumnus of Temple University and the University of Oregon, Jackson’s honors include the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Stanley P. Young Fellow in Poetry, 2002; Louisiana Division of the Arts Artist Fellowship, 2002; a Pushcart Prize nomination, 2001; and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. His work has appeared in several periodicals, including the New Yorker, Philadelphia Inquirer and American Poetry Review. “Leaving Saturn” was published last year by the University of Georgia Press. Jackson will attend the ceremony when the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards are announced Feb. 26 at the New School in Manhattan.-University Communications