origin story
104 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Aug 2021

origin story


University of New Mexico Press

origin story outlines a family history of distant sisters, grieving mothers and daughters, and alcoholic fathers. These poems take us from Kansas to Korea and back again in an attempt to reconnect with estranged family and familial ghosts divided by years of diaspora. An interrogation of cultural and personal myths, origin story wrestles with the questions: Who will remember us? How do we deal with the failures of memory? Whose stories are told?

Gary Jackson's origin story is a powerful meditation on how we return to and turn away from our beginnings. These exquisite poems search out the source of belonging, whether to people or place. Jackson deftly shows us what can happen when fracture begets connection and erasure becomes revelation. Elegiac, irreverent, and deeply American, this collection testifies to the persistence of memory.'--Amy Fleury, author of Sympathetic Magic
From post-Korean War era to the present day, ongoing brutalities upon Black bodies, and the complexities of a speaker born to a Black-Asian mother and Black father, Jackson's poems in origin story reveal the porous interconnectedness of our boundaries--bloodlines, memories, trauma, silences--and how origin stories and their contested retellings hold deep roots to our sense of betrayal and belonging.'--Esther Lee, author of Sacrificial Metal
origin story is both intensely intimate and utterly everyman. These are poems of both great weight and profound lightness. . . It is impossible to read origin story and not feel obliged to think hard about one's own upbringing, impossible not to be moved and changed by what these poems bring to light.'--Tim Seibles, author of Fast Animal
In origin story, Gary Jackson delivers a work of beauty and talent. Like so much honey down our throats, he channels the voices of his mother, his grandparents, his family, and his encyclopedic knowledge of comics to create a new and necessary universe. It challenges racism and carried assumptions while creating an honest dialogue that ultimately ends with connection and compassion. These poems are where the body becomes word.'--Juan Morales, author of The Handyman's Guide to End Times: Poems
Gary Jackson is an associate professor of creative writing at the College of Charleston. He is also the author of Missing You, Metropolis, which was the winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.
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