Poet and author Gary Jackson, a native of Topeka, Kan., will be the featured speaker in the next installment of Park University's Ethnic Voices Poetry Series on Thursday, Feb. 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. Jackson's poetry reading and discussion will be held at the Kansas City (Mo.) Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. A reception will precede the event at 6 p.m.
Jackson was the winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for his first book, Missing You, Metropolis (Graywolf Press, 2010). The CCPP, which is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by African-American poets, selected Jackson's work because it "embodies and underscores a voice uniquely shaped and tuned for the 21st century. Playful, jaunty and highly serious; the collection is gauged by a sophisticated heart. Pathos breathes within and slightly underneath the visual comedy, and this quality is the true genius of Missing You, Metropolis."
Jackson's poems have appeared in The Laurel Review, Blue Mesa Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Literary Bohemian, Inscape and Magma. Jackson, who received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in 2008, was also nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.
The purpose of Park University's Ethnic Voices Poetry Series, which started in 2007, is to expose individuals to artistic thought and expression that challenges preconceptions about those whose experiences and points of view differ from their own. Because all literature focuses on the human condition, a sharing of that literature promotes a sharing of ideas regarding the challenges, disappointments and celebrations of all people, and the written and verbal expression of emotions that those activities promote. The Ethnic Voices Poetry Series is funded in part by a Missouri Arts Council grant, a state agency and division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Jackson's appearance is co-sponsored by the University of Central Missouri.
For more information about the Ethnic Voices Poetry Series, visit www.park.edu/ethnicpoetry/2012-2013.html or contact Virginia Brackett, associate professor of English and assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Science at Park, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 584-6818.