This setting of “Love poem with a Knife” by US National Youth Poet Laureate, Kara Jackson was, was commissioned by Rob Nathanson of Pro Musica and premiered at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC on April 11th, 2019. The Pro Musica artists, Rob Nathanson and Helmut Jasbar, guitars, Livia Sellin , violin, and soprano, Nancy King performed.
Love poem with a knife by Kara Jackson
in talking about loving you, I consider murder. consider your pistol
of a mouth, jaw long and smoking. when I ask you how to be pretty for you,
you suggest murder. defend it. call a dead woman the least vain.
in talking about loving men, my mother suggests loving a knife
first. learn if sharpness can be a good father, if a blade can make kissy faces.
every woman wants a man, few want a good knife. I name my kitchen a love
war. look for you in the cutting drawer. look for you in my razor. make a romance
out of nicking. I have no secrets for first dates. just keeping chopping. put his edge
to your neck. he will let you bleed first (no, after you). and this is why I leave
and come back. I know I’m a woman, by the way I take war. by the way I let weapons
give me children, even sliced and undone. by the way our love is pressing the wound.
Kara Jackson is the daughter of country folks. Her work investigates a trail of language that leads from the South to the North. Through a multidisciplinary approach, Jackson attempts to document her lineage of divine womanhood in a country that demands its erasure. She is a product of the literary bloodline created by women like Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Joan Baez. Jackson is an alum of the solo voice jazz ensemble at Merit School of Music. Jackson received the Scholastic Art and Writing Award for her short story Nursery Rhymes, which won a silver medal at the national level. She is an Adroit Journal mentee. Jackson is an alum of the Spoken Word Club at Oak Park River Forest High school. She represented the school in the Louder Than a Bomb festival from 2016-2018, and in her final year performed on final stage at the Auditorium Theatre, where she was granted the Literary Award by Patricia Smith. Her poems have appeared in POETRY, Frontier Poetry, Rookie Mag, Nimrod Literary Journal, and Saint Heron. She has two articles published in Blavity. She has two poems featured in the latest anthology edited by Kevin Coval, The End of Chiraq. Jackson is a TEDx speaker. She will attend Smith College in the fall of 2019.