Reuben Jackson Makes Banshee Press’ 2020 Best Short Readings List
Jackson's poetry cycle, "Kelly's Love for Waltzes" (published by Boston Review) is chosen by Jaydn Dewald for the year-end list.
THIS YEAR, the Irish publisher, Banshee Press, asked its editors and contributors to pick "their favourite shorter reads of the year." Poet, Jaydn Dewald, whose work has appeared in Banshee and numerous other journals, chose Reuben Jackson's poetry cycle "Kelly's Love for Waltzes" for the list. The cycle was originally published by Boston Review and includes poems that utilize a waltz-like form, each line containing three words.
In "Kelly's Love for Waltzes" Reuben, who achieved considerable recognition for his narrative-driven poetry about lovers Khadijah and Amir, showcases a new voice, that of Kelly, loud and frustrated over racial inequality. Reuben's most recent collection Scattered Clouds features a plethora of his narrative and character-based poetry, and includes of all of his Khadijah and Amir poems. You can pick that up from ASP here.
Scattered Clouds is a volume of lyrical, emotionally forthright meditations on love, loss, and longing. The volume contains the complete text of the author’s award-winning first collection, fingering the keys; his nationally lauded poem, “For Trayvon Martin”; and his suite of ruminations on a long-time and deeply missed friend, the late barbershop owner Amir Yasin, and his widow Khadijah Rollins. These poems, exploring Amir’s late-life romance with Kadijah, became a national internet sensation.
An introduction by poet Abdul Ali places Jackson in his rightful context as a Black American poetry elder, who has influenced generations of younger poets with his musical wisdom as well as his poetry. Ali is a Cave Canem alum and the author of the poetry collection, Trouble Sleeping.
In his new review of Katherine E. Young’s Woman Drinking Absinthe, Charles Rammelkamp delivers a review worthy of the subject. With careful erudition, and no lack of wit, he mines Katherine’s beautiful and heartbreaking poesy about “illicit love” for words of affirmation.
Poem in Your Pocket Day was created by the Office of the Mayor of New York City in 2002 in partnership with the New York Department of Cultural Affairs and Education. Its goal is to reintroduce poetry, a traditionally performative art, into social situations and normal everyday life. As such, PIYPD marks the end of National Poetry Month, bringing the lessons of the month out into the rest of the year.
Watch or read this alternating interview between poet and translator Katherine E. Young and Natalya Sukhonos both of which release new collections of original poetry this year.