Major Jackson

1968 –

Major Jackson was born and raised in Philadelphia, where he pursued his degree in accounting at Temple University.

In the late 1990s, he joined the Dark Room Collective, an organization that gave greater visibility to emerging and established writers of color and included Thomas Sayers Ellis, John Keene, Janice Lowe, Carl Phillips, Tracy K. Smith, Sharan Strange, Natasha Trethewey, Artress Bethany White, and Kevin Young.

Jackson is the author of six collections of poetry, including Razzle Dazzle: New and Selected Poems 2002–2022 (W. W. Norton, 2023); The Absurd Man (W. W. Norton, 2020); Roll Deep (W. W. Norton, 2015); and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

A recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Jackson has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. In 2023, he was both inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and awarded the Academy of American Poets Fellowship.

Jackson serves as poetry editor of Harvard Review, and was the Guest Editor for a special series of Poem-a-Day from June 22–July 3, 2020. He is currently the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville.