Closeup of Major Jackson
Major Jackson

Major Jackson—a poetry fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts—joins Washington State University’s Visiting Writers Series for a virtual reading of his work March 1 at 7 p.m. The event, a joint venture of the WSU Pullman and Vancouver campuses, will be broadcast live on YouTube.

Jackson, author of five poetry collections, including his latest, The Absurd Man (2020), recently joined Vanderbilt University in Nashville as the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English. His first book, Leaving Saturn (2002), won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He has been a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and won numerous other awards, including a Pushcart Prize. His poems and essays appear in such publications as The New Yorker, Paris ReviewTin House and multiple volumes of Best American Poetry. Jackson serves as poetry editor of the Harvard Review.

A Philadelphia native, Jackson pursued accounting at Temple University. After college he took a job as finance director at Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Art Center, where he developed a taste for art and activism. He turned to a brief career as a literary critic and journalist of the hip-hop scene before heading off to the University of Oregon to earn his Master of Fine Arts in poetry. He spent 18 years as a professor of English at The University of Vermont.

Jackson recently told an interviewer at Vanderbilt that art “can be an immense tool for community-gathering. We are less alone when we hear the human condition articulated in a poem or essay.”

The event will last one hour, including time for questions from the audience. For more information, contact Cameron McGill at

The WSU Visiting Writers Series proudly works with the following partners: WSU Vancouver College of Arts and Sciences; WSU Vancouver Library; WSU Vancouver Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; WSU Vancouver Office of Student Equity and Outreach; WSU Vancouver Office of Academic Affairs; WSU Tri-Cities Writing Center; WSU Common Reading Program; Associated Students of WSU Vancouver and Pullman; and Landscapes, The Student Literary Journal.