Poet and professor Major Jackson

Jackson Wins Second Vermont Book Award

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Thursday October 13, 2016

Major Jackson, a poet and University of Vermont professor, has won the second Vermont Book Award for his poetry collection titled “Roll Deep.” Jackson received the award during the Vermont Book Award Gala at Vermont College of Fine Arts. The award was designed by Vermont artist Sabrina Fadial and included a $5,000 prize, which was presented to Jackson by last year’s Vermont Book Award winner, Montpelier poet Kerrin McCadden.

Jackson, a South Burlington resident, thanked his family and acknowledged the work of his fellow nominees and finalists. He discussed how writing and poetry has become an important voice in today’s society, especially in light of recent political rhetoric.

“Much of my poetry is about creating a body of work that defines the character of my life, the black life,” Jackson said. “To my fellow Vermont citizens, writers, and readers, we must continue to write respectively,” he added later.

“Roll Deep” is described as a breakthrough volume of poetry that evokes the vernacular notion of “rolling deep” to explore human intimacy and conflict with masterful musicality.

In addition to “Roll Deep,” Jackson has written the poetry collections “Holding Company,” “Hoops,” and “Leaving Saturn,” which was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He has published poems and essays in many fine literary periodicals. He is also a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars in addition to his work at UVM. He serves as the Poetry Editor of the “Harvard Review.”

The Vermont Book Award was created to honor a state uniquely suited for creative enterprise. Seven judges chose Jackson from among eight other authors and poets, which included Castle Freeman Jr., David Huddle, Jo Knowles, Jeffrey Lent, Jennifer McMahon, Sean Prentiss, Julia Shipley, and Tamara Ellis Smith.

The Gala highlighted Vermont’s extraordinary creative community and featured many notable Vermont writers and artists. Approximately 170 guests attended the event, with author Ann Hood giving the keynote address.