Parnassus Books is pleased to welcome Major Jackson to celebrate his new book, A Beat Beyond: Selected Prose of Major Jackson, in conversation with Destiny O. Birdsong.
This is a free event which will take place IN STORE on Thursday, September 1st at 6:30pm Central Time. Because space will be limited, registration is required to attend this event. Please register for free by filling out the form below! (Note: If for any reason you need to cancel your registration, please call the store at 615-953-2243 at least 24 hours before the event so your space can be provided to another guest.) Masks are strongly encouraged during this event.
About the Book
In this collection of essays, interviews, and notes, Major Jackson revels in the work of poetry not only to limn and assess the intellectual and spiritual dimensions of poets, but to amplify the controversies and inner conflicts that define our age: political unrest, climate crises, the fallout from bewildering traumas, and the social function of the art of poetry itself. Accessible and critically minded, Jackson returns to the poem as an unparalleled source of linguistic pleasure that structures a multilayered "lyric self." In his interviews, Jackson illustrates poetry's distinct ability to mediate the inexplicable while foregrounding the possibilities of human song.
Collected over several decades, these essays find Jackson praising mythmaking in Frank Bidart and Ai's poetry, expressing bafflement at the silence of white-identified poets in the cause of social and racial justice, unearthing the politics behind Gwendolyn Brooks's Pulitzer Prize, and marveling at the "hallucinatory speed of thought" in a diverse range of poets including Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Brenda Hillman, Afaa Michael Weaver, Forrest Gander, and Terrance Hayes. This collection passionately surveys the radical shifts of the art and notes poetry as a necessity for a modern sensibility.
About the Author
Major Jackson is the author of five volumes of poetry, most recently The Absurd Man, which was published in 2020. He lives in Nashville and directs the creative writing program at Vanderbilt University as the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Humanities. A Beat Beyond, Jackson’s first collection of prose, is the latest entry in Michigan’s Poets on Poetry series.
About Destiny O. Birdsong
Destiny O. Birdsong is a poet, novelist, and essayist whose work has appeared in the Paris Review Daily, African American Review, and Catapult, among other publications. Her debut poetry collection, Negotiations, was published in 2020 by Tin House and was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award. Her debut novel, Nobody’s Magic, was published in February 2022 from Grand Central Publishing.