Pardon My Heart is an exploration of love in the contemporary African American ethos. In this lyrically complex collection, the speakers and subjects—the adult descendants of the Great Migration—reckon with past experiences and revelatory, hard-earned ideas about race and class.
With a compelling blend of narrative, musicality, and imagery, Jackson’s poems span a multitude of scenes, landscapes, and sensations. Pardon My Heart examines intimacy, memory, grief, and festivity while seeking out new, reflective sectors within emotion and culture. By means of concise portraiture and sonic vibrancy, Jackson’s poems ultimately express the urgency and pliability of the human soul.
MARCUS JACKSON was born in Toledo, Ohio. He earned a B.A. from the University of Toledo and continued his poetry studies at NYU and as a Cave Canem fellow. His poems have appeared in such publications as The American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, and Tin House. He lives with his wife and son in Columbus, where he teaches in the M.F.A. program at the Ohio State University.
“Though not an explicitly political volume, Pardon My Heart posits a way of looking at the world that calls to mind the wise, weathered perspectives of Yehuda Amichai and Pablo Neruda: These are poems in which the integrity of one’s personal sphere feels like a necessary refuge from, and an antidote to, the toxic swill of the world at large . . . Plain-spoken but never plain, Jackson’s collection confirms the arrival of a thrilling new voice in American poetry, one whose writing, on page after page, has the fullness and glow of a jubilee.” —New York Times
"Pardon My Heart is a lyrically complex, beautifully integrated collection that will no doubt appeal to a wide audience of readers. Jackson possesses a keen ability to document ideas of maturing love alongside a reckoning of hard-earned ideas about race in a stripped down, clear, and passionate diction that is balanced masterfully against his use of the sonnet form and related lyric modes."—Peter Covino, author of Cut Off the Ears of Winter and The Right Place to Jump
“Marcus’s work isn’t trying to follow any trends. He accomplishes a beauty through carefully constructed language that looks and sounds like conversational speech.” —Anthony Frame, Editor in Chief, Glass: A Journal of Poetry
"A book born out of a pain pounded into the skin, of an unstoppable song, of the terrible wondrous thing we call love, Marcus Jackson's Pardon My Heart is a full blown heartbreaker. Each poem is a real and necessary look into what we inherit of the world's sorrow and how we are pulled toward grace by that great middle ticker inside us all." —Ada Limón, author of Bright Dead Things
"In Pardon My Heart, Marcus Jackson’s second poetry collection, the speaker finds many kinds of love—love that is joyful, but also love that is complicated by economic hardship, race, and time." —Poets & Writers
"What I most admire about Marcus Jackson’s Pardon My Heart is the way it explores the stupidity and sorrow of a certain idea of masculinity, and how this exploration—which necessarily requires a kind of disassembly—might allow the tenderness in." —Ross Gay, author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
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