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. “I will expose old scars and breast feed/ a shadow of myself,” the poet declares in “kill lies all.” Jackson at first writes in a spare style as she processes grief. In these early poems, figurative language bleeds through the spareness like light filtering through a gloomy room. In “After the Suicide,” the “throat/ of our home fills like gardenias in bloom.” In “Directions for My Son on His 19th Birthday,” pieces of song are “melting from the speaker.” One of the best poems, “A Poem in Reverse,” imagines time rewinding to before the suicide.