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Remembering Jackson Wheeler 7/8/17

June 30, 2017

“Remembering Jackson Wheeler” is set for Saturday, July 8 at 11am in the PACC Oxnard Room 800 Hobson Way in Oxnard, CA. Please join his friends, family, and fans. “We’re going to get together to remember and celebrate our friend Jackson Wheeler,” says Phil Taggart, Ventura County Poet Laureate and long time friend of Jackson’s. Phil is also collecting images for a video montage.  Read more about who Jackson was and why we’re remembering him.  

 

 

A social worker with the Tri-Counties Regional Center, Jackson worked with the Developmentally Disabled for thirty years.

But for many, Jackson is most well known as one of Central and Southern California’s finest poets.

Published internationally, Jackson was a leader in the visual arts and poetry communities since he arrived in Oxnard from North Carolina in the1970s; he donated his extensive art collection to Oxnard’s Carnegie Art Museum where he the Arcade Poetry Series for many years; in total, the series ran for 25 years. With his co-editorship of the SOLO poetry journal, he brought the eyes of the national literary community to California’s mid-coast. Jackson authored three books of poetry, Swimming Past Iceland, A Near Country, and his most recent, new and selected poems, Was I Asleep.

Below, read a poem by Jackson and watch a video of his friends reading poetry from his recently published book Was I Asleep. Stay tuned for more details about upcoming fundraisers to help with end of life expenses.

“Under Heaven”
by Jackson Wheeler

In the late cricket summer
when Sunday afternoon offered
grown-ups the pleasure of a nap,
my cousins and I would speculate
about divine punishment
as we drove ten-penny nails into the ground.

Was it true that copperheads held on
until you died, or snapping turtles until
it thundered? And what about all
those dead relatives, who looked
cramped into suits that didn’t fit
or improbable nightgowns?

Laurette, being older, allows
that heaven is pretty
and just maybe, you don’t have to
wear those clothes.
It is summer all the time and
you can go anywhere barefoot

because there won’t be any
chance you will stub your toe
or step on glass. She knows about
lots of things. She taught me about
stars by putting an old tin colander
over my face, telling me to look

straight at the sun—
all those pinpoints
exquisite and painful

All these things under heaven

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