poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Reuben Jackson



Thirty years ago
You might have slipped beneath
the limbo stick of race

Goaded by someone
raised on folk songs
praising integration

Affable? Black? Qualified?

Your classroom's waiting
As are the blushing mountains


Reuben Jackson retired from his position as Archivist and Associate Curator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Duke Ellington Collection in December 2009. His music reviews have been published in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, All About Jazz, and Jazz Times Jazziz, and on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered." He is also an instructor at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, and a regular contributor to “Metro Connection,” a weekly radio news magazine on WAMU-FM, in Washington, DC. His poems have published in 21 anthologies, The Jazz Journalists Association website, and in his volume of poems entitled fingering the keys. Jackson’s “haiku” was set to music by the late saxophonist Steve Lacy. Jackson has been interviewed for series such as NPR’s “Making the Music,” for forthcoming documentaries on The 1969 Woodstock Music Festival and pianist Ahmad Jamal, and has participated in symposia at The Experience Music Project, The International Association of Jazz Education, The Library of Congress, and at several Duke Ellington Conferences. He lives in Washington, DC.


Published in Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 2011.

To read more by this author:
Reuben Jackson
Reuben Jackson: Wartime Issue
Reuben Jackson: It's Your Mug Anniversary Issue