National Poetry Month Playlist: Jennifer Jackson Berry’s Picks


To celebrate National Poetry Month, our Sundress editors are sharing some of their favorite poems, most influential poems, and poems that they are really digging right now. Put them all together, and you have the Sundress Poetry Playlist!

Today’s picks come from author Jennifer Jackson Berry!

I’ll Write the Girl by Jan Beatty
Jan Beatty is a teacher, a mentor, and a friend.  She has been a strong supporter of my work.  I love so many of her poems, but this one is a favorite.  We need to write what we need to write, and this poem speaks to that.

Eating Together by Li-Young Lee
I had to choose a poem to memorize & recite from the collection The Rose by Li-Young Lee for an undergraduate workshop class I took at the University of Pittsburgh with Toi Derricotte.  I didn’t see the point, so I was going to skip.  I was having dinner with a friend before the evening class, and he (always the more conscientious student) forced me to do the assignment.  It helped that he memorized it with me over Sbarro slices.  It was the first time I paid such close attention to every word.  It was a worthwhile experience, and I can still recite the poem.

I Am Offering This Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca
This was one of the readings at my wedding.  It will always hold a special place in my heart.


Jennifer Jackson Berry lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and works as a claims adjuster for a mass transit bus line. She has taught high school English, as well creative writing and composition at the post-secondary level. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Stone Highway Review, 5AM, Main Street Rag, Jet Fuel Review, Amethyst Arsenic, and Mead, among others. She is the author of the chapbooks When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications, forthcoming in 2013) and Nothing But Candy(Liquid Paper Press, 2003). She holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University’s MFA program. She is an active member of the Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange.

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