In her intimately compelling debut collection Moon Jar, Didi Jackson explores the life-altering and heart-rending loss of a husband to suicide. In an effort to understand this unforeseen and inexplicable act, she maps with immense candor the emotional difficulty of continuing her responsibility as a mother while attempting to regain a sense of normalcy. While grief never fully subsides, Jackson allows herself over time to rediscover love as she contends with the brutal and haunting grip of human trauma. These affirmative poems, precise and grace-begetting, exhibit an admirable self-devotion to healing and recovery that is metamorphic and cathartic. Turning to biblical narratives as well as seminal works of art by the likes of Hildegard of Bingen, Pablo Picasso, Sappho, Mark Rothko, Kazimir Malevich, Hieronymus Bosch, and Frédéric Chopin, she orchestrates a tableau of conversations around human suffering, the natural world, and impermanence. And like the Korean porcelain moon jar, these poems mark and celebrate the imperfection of existence. At once raw and vulnerable, Moon Jar shows lyric poetry to be a fundamental and permanent force for survival.
"In Moon Jar, Didi Jackson gives poignant testimony to the sorrow, rage, and piercing clarity of grief. And she bears radiant witness to the moment when bereavement gives way to new joy. These poems are breathtaking and frank, and they constitute a bridge into the regions of the inner life where words too often fail to reach.”
—Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, a Pulitzer winner
“Moon Jar is one of the loveliest and most honest books about grief and the long road back to hope and love that I’ve read in a very long time. These poems tell Didi Jackson’s story of losing her husband to suicide and the enormous grief of that loss. But they also show us how we survive such a loss, and that love and life can be ours again. I read this book once, and then again, and again. Jackson’s words comfort us, and remind us what it means to be vulnerable and human.”
—Ann Hood, New York Times Bestselling Author
This debut sparkles with haunting, wrenching, breath-taking poems that bear witness to grief and survival. A spouse takes his life, and a poet struggles to find meaning in what it means to live and bear witness to an inscrutable act. Is a future possible, when suffering exists, she asks? Reinventing biblical narratives, and turning to the natural world and to art, and finally to love, the poems in MOON JAR, fearless and unrelenting, redefine what it means to be alive.
—Jill Bialosky, author of History of a Suicide, Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir, and The Players
Advance Praise for Moon Jar: