Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Angela Jackson  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: 1951 in Greenville, Mississippi

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Jackson spent her early years living in Greenville, Mississippi. Her family moved to Chicago when she was one year old. She graduated from Loretto Academy, a Catholic high school, in Chicago. Jackson stayed in Chicago during college and attended Northwestern University, graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1977. She also earned a master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Chicago. Angela has taught African-American literature at Kennedy-King College since 1997 and still resides in Chicago today.

Biographical and Professional Information

During the 1970's in Chicago, Angela Jackson became one of the most desired readers and performers because she was able to master the art of pause and rhythm during a performance. Jackson is also very well know for her involvement in Chicago's Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC). The influence of this organization has had a great effect on Jackson's writing. Its main goal was to advance "the conscious development and articulation of Black Aesthetic." Members are encouraged to express in words the "Black Experience" and also pay attention to and focus on the works of other African American authors.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Voo Doo Love Magic (First poets series)
ISBN: 0883780321

Third World Pr. 1974

Solo in the Boxcar Third Floor E
ISBN: 0933653018

Oba House. 1985

The Man With the White Liver: Poems
ISBN: 0936556161

Contact II Pubns. 1987

Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners
ISBN: 0810150263

Triquarterly. 1993

Winner of the Carl Sandburg Award for Poetry

Angela Jackson brings her remarkable linguistic and poetic gifts to the articulation of African-American experience. The recurrent motif of the spider, which she presents as both creator and predator, demonstrates her deliberate reshaping of myth in the context of contemporary human experience. Informed by African-American speech and poetic traditions, yet uniquely her own, these poems display Jackson's stylistic grace, her exuberance and vitality of spirit, and her emotional sensitivity and psychological insight.

And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New
ISBN: 0810150778

Triquarterly. 1998

As Angela Jackson has developed as a poet, her poetry has engaged various artistic perspectives yet always maintains a characteristic combination of compassion, grace, and daring. Drawing from earlier works contained in chapbooks, And All These Roads Be Luminous is filled with a world of characters engaged in explorations of identity, sexuality, creativity, and spirituality--all revealed through a passionate verse brimming with surprises.

Where I Must Go: A Novel
ISBN: 0810151855

Northwestern University Press. 2009

Lyrical, penetrating, and highly charged, this novel displays a delicately tuned sense of difference and belonging. Poet Angela Jackson brings her superb sense of language and of human possibility to the story of young Magdalena Grace, whose narration takes readers through both privilege and privation at the time of the American civil rights movement.



The novel moves from the privileged yet racially exclusive atmosphere of the fictional Eden University to the black neighborhoods of a Midwestern city and to ancestral Mississippi. Magdalena’s story includes a wide range of characters—black and white, male and female, favored with opportunity or denied it, the young in love and elders wise with hope. With and through each other, they struggle to understand the history they are living and making. With dazzling perceptiveness, Jackson’s narrator Magdalena tells of the complex interactions of people around her who embody the personal and the political at a crucial moment in their own lives and in the making of America.

It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time: Poems (Triquarterly)
ISBN: 0810130513

Triquarterly. 2015

2015 PEN Open Book Award Finalist

Angela Jackson’s latest collection of poetry borrows its title from a lyric in Barbara Lewis’s 1963 hit single “Hello Stranger,” recorded at Chess Records in Chicago. Like the song, Jackson’s poems are a melodic ode to the African American experience, informed by both individual lives and community history, from the arrival of the first African slave in Virginia in 1619 to post-Obama America.

It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time reflects the maturity of Jackson’s poetic vision. The Great Migration, the American South, and Chicago all serve as signposts, but it is the complexity of individual lives—both her own and those who have gone before, walk beside, and come after—that invigorate this collection. Upon surveying so vast a landscape, Jackson finds that sorrow meets delight, and joy lifts up anger and despair. And for all this time, love is the agent, the wise and just rule and guide.

Roads, Where There Are No Roads: A Novel
ISBN: 0810134721

Triquarterly. 2017

Winner, 2018 John Gardner Fiction prize

In this highly anticipated sequel to her acclaimed first novel, Where I Must Go, Angela Jackson continues the remarkable story of Magdalena Grace. As a black student at the predominantly white Eden University, Maggie found herself deeply involved in conflict. Now, out in the wider world, she and her beloved Treemont Stone evolve into agents of change as they become immersed in the historical events unfolding around them—the movements advocating for civil rights, black consciousness, black feminism, the rights of the poor, and an end to the war in Vietnam. Rendered in prose so lyrical and luminous as to suggest a dream, Roads, Where There Are No Roads is a love story in the greatest sense, celebrating love between a man and a woman, between family members, and among the members of a community whose pride pushes them to rise up and resist. This gorgeously written novel will resonate with readers today as incredibly relevant, uplifting hearts and causing eyes to water with sorrow and delight.

A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun: The Life & Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks
ISBN: 0807025046

Beacon Press. 2017

A look back at the cultural and political force of Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, in celebration of her hundredth birthday

Artist–Rebel–Pioneer

Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks is one of the great American literary icons of the twentieth century, a protégé of Langston Hughes and mentor to a generation of poets, including Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Elizabeth Alexander.

Her poetry took inspiration from the complex portraits of black American life she observed growing up on Chicago’s Southside—a world of kitchenette apartments and vibrant streets. From the desk in her bedroom, as a child she filled countless notebooks with poetry, encouraged by the likes of Hughes and affirmed by Richard Wright, who called her work “raw and real.”

Over the next sixty years, Brooks’s poetry served as witness to the stark realities of urban life: the evils of lynching, the murders of Emmett Till and Malcolm X, the revolutionary effects of the civil rights movement, and the burgeoning power of the Black Arts Movement. Critical acclaim and the distinction in 1950 as the first black person ever awarded a Pulitzer Prize helped solidify Brooks as a unique and powerful voice.

Now, in A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun, fellow Chicagoan and award-winning writer Angela Jackson delves deep into the rich fabric of Brooks’s work and world. Granted unprecedented access to Brooks’s family, personal papers, and writing community, Jackson traces the literary arc of this artist’s long career and gives context for the world in which Brooks wrote and published her work. It is a powerfully intimate look at a once-in-a-lifetime talent up close, using forty-three of Brooks’s most soul-stirring poems as a guide.

From trying to fit in at school (“Forgive and Forget”), to loving her physical self (“To Those of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals”), to marriage and motherhood (“Maud Martha”), to young men on her block (“We Real Cool”), to breaking history (“Medgar Evers”), to newfound acceptance from her community and her elevation to a “surprising queenhood” (“The Wall”), Brooks lived life through her work.

Jackson deftly unpacks it all for both longtime admirers of Brooks and newcomers curious about her interior life. A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun is a commemoration of a writer who negotiated black womanhood and incomparable brilliance with a changing, restless world—an artistic maverick way ahead of her time.


Awards

-- '''''And All These Roads Be Luminous