Acclaimed poet and South Burlington resident Major Jackson, an English professor at the University of Vermont, has been selected as co-editor of the 2019 edition of The Best American Poetry. Yes, non-poetry peeps: that is a BFD. The anthology, published by Simon & Schuster, is slated for release on September 10 — the day after Jackson’s 51st birthday.
The recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Whiting Award, Jackson is the author of four volumes of poetry. Two of his books, Hoops and Holding Company, were finalists for the NAACP Image Award. His debut collection, Leaving Saturn, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Jackson’s poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the Paris Review, Ploughshares and Tin House, as well as several volumes of The Best American Poetry.
In addition to teaching at UVM, Jackson serves as poetry editor of the Harvard Review.
On the occasion of this career milestone, Seven Days emailed with Jackson about what it means to be tasked with curating the best American poetry of the year.