Didi Jackson

Didi Jackson’s poems have appeared in the New YorkerNew England ReviewPloughshares, and elsewhere. After having lived most of her life in Florida, she currently lives in South Burlington, Vermont and teaches creative writing at the University of Vermont.

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Moon Jar

Didi Jackson

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

$16.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-817-5


In her intimately compelling debut collection Moon Jar, Didi Jackson explores the life-altering and heart-rending loss of a husband 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. These affirmative poems, precise and grace-begetting, exhibit an admirable self-devotion to healing and recovery that is metamorphic and cathartic. Turning to biblical narratives as well as seminal works of art by the likes of Hildegard of Bingen, Pablo Picasso, Sappho, Mark Rothko, Kazimir Malevich, Hieronymus Bosch, and Frédéric Chopin, she orchestrates a tableau of conversations around human suffering, the natural world, and impermanence. And like the Korean porcelain moon jar, these poems mark and celebrate the imperfection of existence. At once raw and vulnerable, Moon Jar shows lyric poetry to be a fundamental and permanent force for survival.


“In Moon Jar, Didi Jackson gives poignant testimony to the sorrow, rage, and piercing clarity of grief. And she bears radiant witness to the moment when bereavement gives way to new joy. These poems are breathtaking and frank, and they constitute a bridge into the regions of the inner life where words too often fail to reach.”—Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, a Pulitzer winner

Moon Jar is one of the loveliest and most honest books about grief and the long road back to hope and love that I’ve read in a very long time. These poems tell Didi Jackson’s story of losing her husband to suicide and the enormous grief of that loss. But they also show us how we survive such a loss, and that love and life can be ours again. I read this book once, and then again, and again. Jackson’s words comfort us, and remind us what it means to be vulnerable and human.”—Ann Hood


MOON JAR Author Didi Jackson Featured by Vanderbilt University!

“Sometimes our motivations aren’t what we asked for—they are given to us.” That is the experience of Visiting Assistant Professor of English Didi Jackson, who joined Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science in Spring 2021. A true lover of the humanities, Jackson brings to A&S a deep passion for telling stories through poetry and visual […]

Literary North interviews Didi Jackson

Didi Jackson is a terrific poet. She writes accessible poems that are packed with startling imagery, art, precise language, and delicate emotions. She manages to make the shocking and heart-breaking very real and yet very tender at once. Though her new book, Moon Jar (Red Hen Press, 2020), opens with the incomprehensible grief and practical […]

Seven Days: Poet Didi Jackson on Grief, Recovery and New Book ‘Moon Jar’

Didi Jackson‘s book of poetry, Moon Jar, was released on April 21 — the day before her 50th birthday and during a global pandemic. The book contains several years’ worth of poems about Jackson’s late husband, who died by suicide in 2011. Though many of the poems had been published previously, Jackson said it was emotionally […]

Daily Poetry: Ascension

Ascension Didi Jackson The blue jays lay claimto the raspberry busharriving in groups of four or five:one holds a rubied berry in its beakand feeds it up in the white pine to anotheras if placing the bones of the canonizedinto a gilded reliquary, and I think of the saintfor the mentally ill, beheaded by her […]

Lithub: ‘Almost Animal’ A Poem by Didi Jackson

after Käthe Kollwitz I heard they no longer sew eyelids of the dead shut.At the morgue, I busied myself countingthe lacerations on my husband’s neck and wrists.I wore sunglasses and a light jacketand pressed my palm to his wrapped chest. After the dried blood was wiped from his face, his jaw was setwith a piece […]

VPR: ‘Between Abject Fear And Inexplicable Optimism’: Vt. Poets On The Pandemic

Major Jackson: I’m fluctuating between abject fear and inexplicable optimism. Mitch Wertlieb: That’s poet Major Jackson, who lives in South Burlington. And you may have heard a bit of laughter in the background from his wife, Didi Jackson, who is also a poet. The two are quarantining together at a house in Rochester, Vermont, currently. […]


Shelf Awareness: Moon Jar review

In her moving debut collection, poet Didi Jackson creates a poetics of grief to cope with the suicide of her husband. Moon Jar is a testament to resilience. Split into three parts, the book follows the poet’s journey from devastation to rebirth. The first section deals poignantly with the suicide and what seems an irreconcilable loss. […]