Angela Jackson

poet laureate icon
1951 –
Poet Laureate of Illinois, 2020-2024

Angela Jackson was born on July 25, 1951, in Greenville, Mississippi, and raised in Chicago’s South Side. She received her BA from Northwestern University and her MA from the University of Chicago.

Jackson’s poetry collections include It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time (Northwestern University Press, 2015), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the Pen/Open Book Award, a finalist for the Milt Kessler Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award; All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems New and Selected (TriQuarterly Books, 1998), which was nominated for the National Book Award; and Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners (TriQuarterly Books, 1993), winner of the 1994 Carl Sandburg Award for Poetry. Jackson is also a playwright and novelist; her novel, Where I Must Go (TriQuarterly Books, 2009), was awarded the American Book Award. 

A biographer of Gwendolyn Brooks, Jackson’s honors include an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for Poetry, the DuSable Museum Writers Seminar Poetry Prize, the Hoyt W. Fuller Award for Literary Excellence, and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, among others. She lives in Chicago, and was appointed as the Poet Laureate of Illinois in 2020. In 2021, Jackson received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.