Gale Jackson is a poet, storyteller, writer and teaching artist. She is author of the books Suite for Mozambique (IKON Press, 2006), MeDea (Glad Day, 2001), Bridge Suite: Narrative Poems (Storm Imprints, 1998), Khoisan Tale of Beginnings & Ends (Storm Imprints, 1998), and We Stand Our Ground (IKON Press, 1988), a collaborative work with Kimiko Hahn and Susan Sherman. She also co-edited The Art Against Apartheid Anthology. Her work appears in numerous anthologies and publications, including Callalou, African American Review, Artist and Influence, and Essence. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for her work in griot traditions, worked for many years in university, public and community education, and as a lecturer, performer, researcher and librarian.
PhD, English, University of the West Indies
MA, Liberal Studies, City University of New York
MS, Library and Information Science, St. John’s University
BA, Liberal Arts, Sarah Lawrence College
I am the first of the first generation of North Americans on my mother’s side of a large extended family. I love language, poetry and story, and understand, from my earliest home, the power of narrative, the centrality of culture, the magic of art, to shape our imagination of self and social possibility.
My life’s work has been a deep engagement with the wonders of learning and community building, within a “griot” or bard tradition. As an artist and a scholar – a poet, a writer, a storyteller, a teacher, a cultural historian, a librarian, a researcher, an animator – my work has been, at heart, an interdisciplinary course of study in how we might name ourselves, dance, sing, sculpt, recreate ourselves, into a just world.
My “field” is feminist, “Africanist”, humanist, and generalist. I’ve tutored neighborhood kids and assisted in coordinating international cultural education projects, written about the hermeneutics of “black” vernacular performance and struggled to find the form for teaching and learning in our most embattled social locations. I currently serve as a teaching artist, assistant professor and resident storyteller on the faculties of Eugene Lang College, and The Hayground School.
I remain a student of language, poetics and ancient performance texts. I’ve learned from my “students” that each place of pedagogy is a location for magic and metamorphosis. This keeps me going, writing, imgaging, searching.