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Poets & Writers Magazine Goes One-On-One with MFA Faculty Member Major Jackson

Sep 21, 2010

Profiled in the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, MFA faculty member Major Jackson discusses his life as a writer, his just-published collection of poetry, and shares a few thoughts on the Bennington Writing Seminars—which the magazine recently ranked among the best low-residency MFA programs in the world

"If I could do it over again, I'd do a low-res program," Jackson says." I teach in one, the Bennington Writing Seminars. So you take twenty days out of the year to surround yourself with other writers and you're in one-to-one correspondence ... Let's see, I had three poems discussed in a traditional MFA program per semester so that was six a year, so that would have been twelve poems that got discussed around the table. My [Writing Seminars] students send me five poems a month over five months, so twenty-five a term—that's a hundred poems on which they got direct feedback."

Jackson, whose third collection of poetry, Holding Company, was released in August, is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers' Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. For his first collection, Leaving Saturn, he was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry.