BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Literary Festival continues its 20th anniversary year with Didi Jackson and her debut poetry collection, Moon Jar.
Jackson will be in conversation with former Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord at the online gathering, which starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13.
Moon Jar explores the life-altering and heart-rending loss of a husband in 2011 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.
“I think the book is there more for the survivors, those who survived suicide loss,” she says of her collection.
Jackson said that some people have “told me personally that they have attempted suicide or contemplated suicide.”
The poet added that those readers said “that they really appreciate the book for the honesty and for showing that there's movement toward something positive and a new life, a new chance.”
The book title comes from a form of Asian pottery. Moon Jars were originally made during the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). They are curvaceous, plain white porcelain jars resembling a full moon.
Due to their size, these jars were made in two halves, joined together so that the line of the join is often visible. They are valued for their imperfections.
Didi Jackson grew up in Florida, where she lived for 40 years before moving to Vermont in 2016. She recently relocated to Nashville, Tenn., with her husband, Major Jackson, and she serves as a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at Vanderbilt University.
Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere.
Her work has been selected for the Best American Poetry series and Poem-a-Day by the Academy of American Poets.
Registration is free at bit.ly/LitCocktail12, but donations to the Literary Festival are welcome.