Poet Major Jackson on writing poetry that connects

two people speaking
Major Jackson, award-winning poet and host of APM's daily poetry podcast The Slowdown, talked with MPR News host Kerri Miller at a members-only event in mid-October to celebrate the release of his new book, "Razzle Dazzle."
Courtesy of James Napoli

Members of MPR and supporters of The Slowdown came together in mid-October to celebrate poetry with Major Jackson. The poet was in the Twin Cities to speak at the Twin Cities Book Festival, which is where he also learned that The Slowdown — a daily poetry podcast that he hosts — had won the prestigious Signal Award for Best Daily Podcast of 2023.

It was on that jubilant note that he spoke with host Kerri Miller about his love for the art form of words. In the past, he has said that he finds “the writing of a poem a kind of plunging, a willful dive below the surface of who I am.”

During their conversation, Jackson explored those ideas with Miller. He spoke about how to avoid solipsism when writing poetry, how his childhood faith taught him the musicality of words and why it’s crucial that poetry be a mode of inquiry, not a collection of answers.


  • Major Jackson is the author of six books of poetry, most recently “Razzle Dazzle.” He teaches writing at Vanderbilt University and is host of APM’s daily poetry podcast, The Slowdown.

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