By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—Michael Jackman, senior lecturer in writing and academic affairs diversity coordinator at IU Southeast, will read poems and prose as part of the Spalding at 21c: Voice and Vision literary series. The event takes place on Thurs., June 16 at 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Ky.
Jackman will share the stage with Ada Limon, a National Book Award finalist, and several local writers.
He will read a set from his book and chapbook poetry manuscripts with autobiographical, ecological and diversity themes.
Prominent among them is “Mantua, 1612,” a poem that garnered second-place honors in the 2014 Raynes Poetry Prize judged by poet Joan Larkin.
The poem explores Jewish identity in a non-Jewish world, using the example of Salomoni Rossi Hebreo (1570-1630), violinist and composer at the court of Mantua, Italy, during the Renaissance. Due to his exalted status, Rossi was exempted from a law requiring Jews to wear “the yellow badge of shame,” yet was still not fully accepted into the world of the court, nor did he feel at home there.
“I was thinking about what it must have felt like to have your identity maligned, and to negotiate that identify while also being considered a person worthy of rising above the identity that meant so much to you,” Jackman said. “It seems a very modern problem.”
Jackman’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Hospital Drive, A Narrow Fellow, Jewish Currents, NULU Handwritten, Pegasus, The Thomas Merton Seasonal, The Louisville Review and others. He considers Louisville an excellent terrain for emerging writers, drawing attention to IU Southeast’s new creative writing minor and certificate launched last fall.
“There is a good grass-roots movement of creative writing in the Kentuckiana area,” he said.
Spalding at 21c: Voice and Vision literary series takes place on the first Thursday of each month from April through September at 21c Museum Hotel, 700 West Main Street, Louisville, Ky. Readings are free and open to the public. The series is open to writers from all area universities, community writers’ groups and independent writers. Prior to the scheduled readings, there are open-mic- presentations of works in progress on a first-come, first-served basis.
Ada Limon is the author of four books of poetry, including “Bright Dead Things” (2015), which was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, and one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year by The New York Times.