Drew Jackson has become one of my very favorite poets, so I was excited to read this one. This is the sequel to his book called “God Speaks Through Wombs.” Together, these two volumes make up a brilliant work of art in which Jackson works his way through the Gospel of Luke and writes poetry that corresponds to each portion of scripture. He blurs the lines between ancient history and present-day, making the Bible come alive in new ways while illuminating the threads that remain true and relevant throughout human history. The poetry is both universal yet deeply personal, written from Jackson’s social location as a Black man living in the U.S. in the 21st century. As he said in the introduction to “God Speaks Through Wombs,” “These poems are not simply a commentary on Luke’s words but an expression of my experience of Black love, Black longing, and Black joy.”
“Touch the Earth” picks up with Luke 9, where “God Speaks Through Wombs” left off, and carries us through the rest of the book of Luke. I especially appreciate the emphasis on the disruptive, liberating work of Love in and through community. In addition to the incredibly moving and powerful theology, Jackson’s writing is magnificent. His poetry is intricate, intimate but relatable, highlighting a unique perspective while showing how we are all connected in the experience of being humans in need of a loving, liberating God. For those of us who are struggling with the Bible, Jackson invites us to see its beauty and power anew through his prophetic imagination, which holds the tension of the now-and-not-yet nature of the Kingdom of God.
Drew Jackson continues to write masterfully and moving. Reading the gospels stories through his poetry is moving and eye opening. I love everything he has written and though I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley, I also purchased this book for myself to have a hard copy.
I haven't been able to shake this collection of poems since my initial advanced reading last year.
In his verse, Jackson wrestles with faith, race, and the inglorious human condition in a sequence of devotions following the gospel of Luke. His diction is so carefully written, and each line carries a profundity that made me smile or weep, or both.
At the heart of these poems rests a deep longing to understand and follow the Jesus of the Gospels, uncorrupted by generations of (mostly) white men, and a call to recognize the great and beautiful diversity within the Kingdom.
My favorite poems in the collection include. . .
◇ This Side of the Pasture (see above)
◇ With or Against
◇ Nobody Talks About the Road
◇ Pray Then Like This
◇ This Haunted House
◇ These Bags
◇ Give Me My Share
◇ When Hatred Goes to Church
This is a truly powerful collection of poems, thought provoking, poignant and hard hitting.
There is an honesty in the writing that cuts through the noise and excuses like a sharp knife. The words are so well crafted by someone who seems to be well read, thus well trained, as well as gifted.
At the start of each poem is a Bible verse, following the Gospel of Luke from start to finish, each offering inspiration for the writing. It provides a theme or concept that sparks the author's imaginative response, framed by the context of his life. I would certainly advise reading the verse before the poem, to offer additional insight into each piece. It is as though Drew has created a new genre of Bible study.
Reading the poems I felt like I needed more. They cry out to be performed, by a skilled actor who can really communicate their depth of meaning and emotion. Some reminded me of rap music lyrics, not an arena I know much about but one that I imagine draws out the emotion and power of the words.
So I then looked up Drew Jackson on YouTube and social media, I found some videos of him delivering some of his pieces... I recommend you do the same, it is well worth it.
Writing poetry is a skill I so admire, being able to refine language to a few words that communicate so much more than prose, and still make it beautiful. When coupled with the themes of faith, life, politics, community and social issues, inspired by the Bible and created by a gifted wordsmith, the works of Drew I find quite inspiring.
Such powerful and personal writing. Poignant and personal. Profound, sometimes like reading the book of Proverbs.
This collection is an extensive body of work with hundreds of poems. I especially enjoyed the pieces around the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the poem called Two Others, about the two thieves on the cross, from Luke 23, that inspired my own novel, Beneath the Tamarisk Tree.
This is a beautiful book, creatively weaving poetry, Scripture, and life together. This is the second book in the series, completing a poetic walk through the book of Luke. These powerful poems help the reader see the stories in the Gospel of Luke with fresh eyes- weaving in the modern-day reality of life as a black man in America. Some poems bring smiles, others bring tears; they are all worthy of reading and re-reading again. I highly recommend this book— even to those who usually prefer prose, this book is worth the read!
Lyrical poems based on Luke. There are some to make you smile, some to make you uncomfortable, and some to make you think in new ways. This collection is provocative but beautiful. I enjoyed reading the corresponding Scripture selection before each poem, which provided some context. A unique reading experience! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced review copy.
A beautiful collection of poetry that touches the soul with the spirituality. I enjoyed reading this and will defintely recommend it to my peers.
Another great poetry collection. I liked his first alot, maybe even more than this one, but still some good stuff!
Like with his other collection I enjoy reading the Bible verses along with it