‘My Sisters' Country’ by Alexis V. Jackson ‘18 Wins the Kore Press Institute's Poetry Prize

BY Rebecca Pinwei Tseng, November 22, 2021

My Sisters' Country by Alexis V. Jackson ‘18, winner of the Kore Press Institute’s Poetry Prize, is set to be published on January 31, 2022.

 

Kore Press is an intersectional-feminist, literary arts organization that has been publishing literature by women and transgender writers for over 28 years. Dedicated to building more radically connected and just communities, Kore Press works towards creating activist cultural work and public dialogue that centers those in the margins. Writer Erica Hunt selected My Sisters' Country as a winner of the 2020 Kore Press Institute's Poetry Prize.

 

Jackson’s multivocal debut poetry collection features a chorus of Black women’s voices throughout time. Among the expansive array of voices are Jackson’s great-grandmother, the church ladies of her Philadelphia youth, Missy Elliott, and Black feminist scholar Hortense Spillers. My Sisters' Country includes and breaks poetic forms such as the sonnet, pantoum, and zuihitsu, and also introduces a playlist poem exploring the makings of Black girlhood and womanhood. Through this collection, Jackson investigates how “Black women, once considered countryless property, made the country out of and in one another.”

 

In a review of My Sisters’ Country, author Yona Harvey wrote, “From Gwendolyn Brooks to June Jordan to the Book of Genesis, Jackson’s debut poetry sizzles and samples with mischief. It’s gutbucket, daredevil, Double Dutch, next-generation sass."

Assistant Professor Lynn Melnick also praised the collection: “Jackson’s scope is limitless. ‘Christ is supposed to give me salvation for my soul,/ but what about my thighs, and my mouth, and my pancreas,’ she writes. This is a book of the body, unbound by convention while creating entirely new ones.”

 

Jackson is a Philadelphia-born, San Diego-based writer and teacher whose work has appeared in Jubilat, The Amistad, La Libreta, Solstice Literary Magazine, and 805 Lit, among others. She has served as a reader for several publications, including Callaloo and Bomb Magazine. Jackson currently lectures in the University of San Diego’s English Department. She has also taught poetry at her alma mater, Messiah University.