• Image of LANGUAGE LESSON | Ashaki M. Jackson
  • Image of LANGUAGE LESSON | Ashaki M. Jackson
  • Image of LANGUAGE LESSON | Ashaki M. Jackson

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In Language Lesson, Ashaki Jackson writes: "I have trouble naming / this suffering," yet offers a hovering wail. An upward prayer. A drenched silence. A sauntering hymn. The poems hold a luxuriant sadness, as in unhurried, as in decadently expressed, as in all consuming. Jackson artfully makes of sublingual voices a multivalent language, grief as enduring, bodied remembrance as expansive and relentlessly striking as the "s{wept} sky."

– Khadijah Queen, author of Exercises in Painting

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Gratitude to Ashaki Jackson’s Language Lesson for allowing me to slow down and sing to our lovely dead, our re-memoried mothers and the rituals of their mothers. In reading, I savor each word and each breath between, each line leading me to the next meditation. Another body to consider with care, even in its breaking.

– Ching-In Chen, author of The Heart's Labor

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Ashaki Jackson’s poems unearth a loss so deep, the living left behind commit the sum of their bodies to mourning. In this pact, we realize such an honoring of the dead is much like what is required of reciting poems: our promise of breath propelled by heartbeat, lungs taut with air, or, as Jackson’s deft lines reveal, an act in which

hollow bellies cradle farewell songs tongues arch
twist
bloom

In Language Lesson, Jackson rightfully acknowledges the body as more than flesh and blood. In her verse, it is instrument, beacon—sanctuary.

Mitchell L. H. Douglas, author of \blak\ \al-fə bet\

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32 pp.
Printed and bound in Ghent, Belgium, by Alfabet Drukkerij
Edition of 200
August 2016

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