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.
On scattered clouds
“Reuben Jackson’s marvelous poems map the poles between ode and lamentation, politics and intimacy, sagacity and audacity. He writes for everyday neighbors, folkloric brothers, and imaginary sisters. He writes for Trayvon Martin as well as Frank Sinatra. He nimbly charts the broad spectrum of our lives and loves. I have admired Reuben Jackson’s work for over twenty years. Scattered Clouds will alert old and new poetry fans to his fine, abiding talent.”
—Terrance Hayes, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
“Like Lucille Clifton before him, Jackson has a gift for understatement and for writing sly, unadorned poems that can move you in less than a page. These clear-eyed poems offer social witness to the crisis of living in America. They are peopled poems, poems that witness not only injustice, but also genius, beauty, and survival. This long-awaited collection is a gift.”
—Melissa Tuckey, co-founder of Split this Rock, editor of Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology
“Reading this collection is like going to a concert: the whole orchestra is here and each poem is a solo that fits perfectly into the pocket. The songs played are homage and memory, are jazz and R&B and rock and roll, are commentary and rebellion. Jackson is a conductor who understands how to keep time, every movement of his baton carrying a world in it, taking readers on a journey they will want to replay again and again, so they can feel and dance and sing along.”
—Sami Miranda, Secretary and Curator, The American Poetry Museum, author of Departure and We Is