REACTIONS TO SO WHAT IF IT'S TRUE...
Abandon all preconceptions you may have of post punk poetry and luxuriate in Lorri Jackson’s mix of cri de coeur and defiance. This poet loved language. She nurtured it, protecting it against the often harsh elements of her life. What we end up with in this heartbreaking collection is a portrait of a woman under thirty who was as much an artist as she was an outlaw. Through her intricate evocations of time and place, we can smell the bad coffee, see the dirty streets, and imagine that she is still here writing for us, telling us something new about an era long gone that she was both wary of and in love with.
— Deborah Pintonelli, poet, author of Meat and Memory and Ego Monkey
I know a poet has chops when half-way through a 100+ page collection, I am energized by envy and inspired to compete. Lorri Jackson is a poet who makes me want to write poems while knowing I could never reach her glorious heights or startling lows and that it doesn’t matter, that writing is all that saves us and the words are all we need to leave behind. Lorri Jackson’s book So What If It’s True did just that to me. Her language is gritty and gorgeous, her sensibilities stunning and exceptional. Jackson is a poet in the ilk of Patti Smith, Rimbaud, an impossible bastard child of Dylan Thomas mated with Bukowski and Joni Mitchell. Jackson’s language is blunt, garrulous, self-deprecating, insightful, cruel, and painfully honest. Her work soars and dives and takes the reader along for the ride. She leaves behind in So What If It’s True evidence that a unique and troubling genius was extinguished by a needle prick, leaving only “…the red wail of sirens / hoses hissing / the coach house smoldering / smoking / and me, perhaps found / unrecognizable, a little / twisted and curiously / dead.” Like Christopher Marlow, who died far too young from a self-inflicted life outside of his astonishing writing, Jackson leaves behind a body of unfinished potential we can only mourn as lost to all of us. I closed this necessary book wondering what would have happened had Jackson lived to carve her complete story into the bark of the American tree. So What If It’s True belongs in any thinking person’s desert island collection.
— Joani Reese, poet, educator, author of Night Chorus
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