"I now seek gardens where bodies have their will,/ where the self is a compass point given to the lost./ Let me call your name; the ground here is soft & broken." Jackson (Hoops) invites readers into a series of ten-line lyrics, most of which are accentuated, nearly iambic, and often use internal and end rhymes. Almost a sonnet, this short form works well as a container and offers readers a narrative sequence in which one poem fittingly follows another, detailing love lost and found and the confounding territory between. To this end, Jackson invokes artists, musicians, and other writers as well as political events. These poems are passionate, urgent, and lonely. "All we want is to succumb to a single kiss/ that will contain us like a marathon/ with no finish line." Some of Jackson's connections can be difficult, yet he manages to include lines and images as delicious as they are surprising. "Thus I am/ your sweet messenger glittering more than first stars,/ a harvest of light concealing your nicks and little deaths." VERDICT More than one poem in this volume will take your breath away. A highly recommended collection from an important poet.--Karla Huston, Appleton Art Ctr., WI[Page 79]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In his third collection, which is also his darkest, Jackson (Hoops) delves into wrenching, personal subject matter in rigid 10-line poems, a formal choice that seems to inspire an emotional nakedness he hasn't previously achieved. He begins on a visionary note--"For I, too, desired the Lion's mouth split/ & the world that is not ours, and the wounded children/ set free"--and then, in the same poem, name-checks Duke Ellington: these poems range widely across various registers and subjects, from the timeless and mythic to pop culture. But at the core of all of them is an awareness of the dark beneath everyday goings-on: "The neighbors/ know your comings and goings, but the syntax/ of your smiles is revealed only to little children." Also at the heart of these poems is the painful dissolution of a marriage, which Jackson compares to "a democracy lost to a monarchy." This leads, in a poem called "Therapy," to "Ashes of fire in his mouth, rain sloshed in/ his head" and to a life with "Stray dogs for company." Yet, there's resolution, a new love: "I am learning/ the steps of a foreign song." This powerful book represents a painful but inspired journey. (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.