In a company of Major Jackson and his “Holding Company”

American poet Major Jackson will be speaking at the 2016 Spring Literary Festival on Monday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the UC Theater, and he will be reading from his most recent collection of poems titled Holding Company. 

Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at the University of Vermont and a faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review. He is the author of three collections of poetry titled Leaving Saturn, Hoops, and Holding CompanyHoops and Holding Company both were finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry and Leaving Saturn was the winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. Jackson is also a recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

Major Jackson, American poet, photo from

Major Jackson, American poet, photo from

In his collection of poems Holding Company, Jackson explores art, literature, and music as an empire, a dark, seductive force in human life. In an effort to recognize desire, beauty, and love as a painkiller to metaphysical loneliness, and he invokes many other famous poets such as Pablo Neruda and Dante Rossetti.

In an interview with the Poetry Society of America, Jackson was asked when and how he became so passionate about poetry.

“Encountering poetry at the nascent and impressionable age of eleven, the year I launched into all of my brooding, was the result of pillaging my grandparent’s second floor library. Among that Golconda of books stacked floor to ceiling, I picked up a Robert Frost paperback edited by Louis Untermeyer and turned to a little ditty: “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” I still have its rhythm in my head,” Jackson answered.

Langston Hughes is what he picked up next, and then an anthology edited by Mark Strand, Contemporary American Poetry. Jackson explained that reading poetry back then was a private pleasure.

“I carried a few of those books with me for their intimacy. At that adolescent hour, I needed their companionship.”

Not only will Major Jackson be alluring to the English department, but he will also appeal to those who are interested in writings about nature, love, and life through the eyes of minority writers.