Comfort Stew

E-book – $15.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-4121-6

Trade Paper – $15.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-4117-9
Publication Date
November 2019
Page Count
72 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Comfort Stew

A Play
Angela Jackson

What could be more painful than a missing child? And how might the community better support families—especially young, single mothers and their children? In Comfort Stew, acclaimed Chicago poet and playwright Angela Jackson addresses these questions in what she has called “a meditation on motherhood and what it means to love. It is a call to community to renew its vows to the ancestors and to children so that no child is ever truly lost.”

Blackwoman Hillary Robinson Clay, a self-reliant schoolteacher, is the first to notice when four-year-old Enjoli is absent from her preschool class. Guided by the memory of her mother and with support from Jake, a tough man who is capable of tenderness, Hillary parents her teenage daughter, Sojourner, who is the same age as Enjoli’s mother Patrice. Jake is a storyteller and a “good cop” who follows Hillary’s intuition and goes looking for Enjoli. As their stories weave together, Jackson explores parenting, generational conflicts, and tradition in the context of contemporary African American family life. Maternal wisdom is embodied by succeeding generations of black women in the recipe for an African stew, a dish Hillary learns to honor while adding a spice that makes it her own.

About the Author

ANGELA JACKSON is a Chicago poet, playwright, and novelist. She has received numerous honors for both fiction and poetry, including the Pushcart Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Her poetry collection, All These Roads Be Luminous, was nominated for the National Book Award, and her debut novel, Where I Must Go, won the American Book Award. In addition to Comfort Stew, Jackson has written three other plays: Witness!, Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and Love, and Lightfoot: The Crystal Stair.

“Tradition, Jackson is saying, must be combined with personal empowerment and responsibility. And the love of community, family and a life partner can help overcome negative social forces . . .  Jackson has a fine facility for language, sending her characters on complex but intriguing lyrical journeys.” —Chicago Tribune