A few weeks ago I introduced you to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, who will be a guest poet at the 2015 Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. Today I want to introduce you to our other guest poet: Marcus Jackson. Marcus was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. After earning his B.A. at the University of Toledo, he continued his poetry studies in NYU's graduate creative writing program and as a Cavem Canem fellow. His poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and the New Yorker, among many other publications. CavanKerry Press published his debut full-length collection of poems, Neighborhood Register, in 2011. Marcus lives with his wife and son in Columbus, Ohio, where he teaches at Capital University.
Writing about his teaching philosophy, Marcus has said:
The idea of obsession is something I want the poets in my workshops to embrace. Becoming obsessed with a great poem—or one specific element/trait of a great poem—can yield multitudes in the development of one’s own poetic voice. For example, if a student is struck to the bone by Yuesf Komunyakaa’s “My Father’s Love Letters,” the student should get obsessed with figuring out what exactly in the poem causes his or her reaction. Is it the poem’s juxtaposition of tenderness with the gnarly tools in the shed; is it Komunyakaa’s ability to break lines on a great array of nouns; is it the way the poem balances on its axis—the last word in the penultimate line, “almost”? Answers to these queries will give the student a clear look into the movements his or her own poems should be trying to make on the page. As soon as students have a grasp of what they want to emulate, their drafts will have standards and, better yet, blueprints to which they might make their own additions.For a sample of Marcus's poetry, visit his website. And please be in touch with me if you'd like more information about the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching--including information about graduate and professional-development credits, scholarships, participant reviews, gorgeous views, delicious food, and amazing camaraderie. Past participants have included K-12 teachers, university professors, graduate students, poets who lead private workshops, businesspeople, school administrators, and civil servants. We are open to everyone who wants to make poetry a more intense part of their working life.