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Holding Company: Poems Paperback – February 6, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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.
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“At times mysterious and at others matter-of-fact, this collection provides much to savor.”
- American Poet
“Passionate, urgent, and lonely . . . [including] lines and images as delicious as they are surprising.”
- Library Journal
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Consider this effervescing body a topiary,
greeting visitors at the edge of a college town,
or rather, grief disguised as feigned joy
flitting in and out of rhododendron
and lilac bushes. What I mean: twilight
in the backyard, explaining the women
away as nothing more than gray drifts
of clouds. Consider those echoes of passion
that rippled toward the bleak snowfields of my days
as slips on the ice when the globe arced.
in ceasing to care he forces a common sympathy which falls far short of the empathic and settles instead on the pathetic, the pathetic of pathos.
Thinking of Lucretius
I follow her to the floor of a canvas,
to bonfires at daybreak, to highways of scenic
strangeness, to calla lilies alive in courtyards of pain,
past fathers marching in mud, silence, and rain,
to battlefields and fissures in earth, beyond
baroque facades and that rapt spell of widening voices
arguing with the sea. Then, and only then, do our shadows
commence their deep communion, and a summer evening
of stars yawns its bare shimmering. We stare down
the arson in us with a ceiling fan turning above.
not without beauty, but bookish. the voice of a poet who has found a home within the castles of the university, and what he has brought inside with him of personal past and historical past are feelings. and on the underpinnings of feelings and his past rest his poetry built up on ten lines of short sentences like patterns in a book of samples from the house of pound and pound's advice to learn form from poems written in foreign languages. jackson does just that. to jackson poetry is foreign country, beautiful scenery and historical ruins reminding him of his own past.
more than 80 poems in a singular form, some lines and section titles recycled and used more than once in other poems, make the collection of poems, on a second glance, more tightly knit than at first sight. all so very romantic.