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Holding Companyby Major Jackson
Synopses & Reviews
In Holding Company, Major Jackson explores art, literature, and music as a kingdom, or an empire, a dark, seductive force in our lives. In an effort to understand desire, beauty, and love as transient anodynes to metaphysical loneliness, he invokes Constantine Cavafy, Pablo Neruda, Anna Akhmatova, and Dante Rossetti.
The stillness of a lover's mouth
assaulted me. I never wearied of anecdotes
on the Commons, gesturing until I scattered
myself into a luminance, shining over a city
of women. Was I less human or more? I hear still
my breathing echoing off their pillows. So many
eyes like crushed flowers. Our fingers splayed
over a bed's edge. We were blown away.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Major Jackson makes poems that rumble and rock."--Dorianne Laux
In , Major Jackson explores art, literature, and music as a kingdom, or an empire, a dark, seductive force in our lives. In an effort to understand desire, beauty, and love as transient anodynes to metaphysical loneliness, he invokes Constantine Cavafy, Pablo Neruda, Anna Akhmatova, and Dante Rossetti. from "Jewel-Tongued"
About the Author
Major Jackson is the author of Roll Deep, Hoops, Holding Company, and Leaving Saturn, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors. He teaches at the University of Vermont and is the poetry editor of the Harvard Review. He lives in South Burlington, Vermont.
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