Poet Laureate Spotlight: Angela Jackson

Photo Credit: Poetry Foundation


Poetry has the power to capture the essence of a place, its people, and their stories. In the vibrant landscape of American poetry, Angela Jackson stands as a luminary, shining a light on the rich tapestry of Illinois through her evocative verses. As the state’s Poet Laureate, Jackson’s work not only celebrates the spirit of Illinois but also serves as a testament to the enduring power of poetry.


Angela Jackson’s journey to becoming Illinois State Poet Laureate is as rich and diverse as her poetry. Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Jackson’s upbringing deeply influenced her writing, her childhood providing her with a unique perspective on the city and its inhabitants. Her early exposure to the arts, coupled with her passion for literature, laid the foundation for a remarkable literary career.


Throughout her career, Jackson has published numerous collections of poetry, each one a testament to her skill as a wordsmith and storyteller. From her debut collection, “Voo Doo/Love Magic,” published while she was still an undergraduate student at Northwestern University, to more recent works like “It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time” and “More Than Meat and Raiment,” Jackson’s poetry is characterized by its lyrical beauty, emotional depth, and keen observations of life.


As Illinois State Poet Laureate, Angela Jackson has used her platform to promote the art of poetry and foster a love of literature throughout the state. Through readings, workshops, and community outreach initiatives, she has engaged audiences of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring them to discover the transformative power of poetry.


One of Jackson’s most significant contributions as Poet Laureate has been her focus on highlighting the diverse voices and experiences within Illinois. Through her own work and collaborations with other poets, she has sought to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, shining a light on their struggles, triumphs, and contributions to the state’s cultural fabric.


In addition to her role as Poet Laureate, Angela Jackson continues to be a champion for the arts in Illinois. As a professor, playwright, and novelist, she has dedicated her life to nurturing the next generation of writers and artists. Her mentorship and guidance have empowered countless aspiring poets to find their voice and share their stories with the world.


Jackson’s impact extends far beyond the borders of Illinois, as her poetry resonates with readers across the country and beyond. Through her keen observations of human nature, her reverence for the natural world, and her unwavering commitment to social justice, Jackson’s poetry speaks to the universal human experience, transcending geographical boundaries and cultural divides.


As Illinois State Poet Laureate, Angela Jackson embodies the spirit of the Prairie State, with its vast landscapes, rich history, and diverse communities. Through her poetry, she captures the essence of Illinois, celebrating its beauty, confronting its challenges, and honoring its people. In doing so, she reminds us of the power of poetry to illuminate the world around us and to inspire us to strive for a better tomorrow.