Military student publishes anthology of poems

Sinclair Portis

Staff Writer

William Jackson, a senior political science major from Valley, recently published a book titled “These Flowers Were Held by Broken Vases.”
The book is an anthology of poems with many topics, including grief and healing.
Jackson was born in Chicago and is the youngest of seven children. He spent half of his life in Chicago, moving to Alabama in 2005. He currently resides in Atlanta and is serving his seventh year in the Army National Guard.
“Ever since I was young, I liked reading, which probably cultivated my love for writing,” Jackson said. His grandmother Eleanor inspired him, as well as his sister Willette.
His literary inspiration is writer J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.
“Although I don’t write about stuff like that, I just love how she creates a different world, and I hope to create a world for my readers as well,” Jackson said.
Writing has always been an interest for Jackson, but during his recent tour in Afghanistan it became a passion.
He began practicing spoken word poetry in Afghanistan as a coping mechanism for stress.
According to, spoken word is a type of poetry that relies heavily on the use of rhythm, improvisation, rhymes, wordplay and slang and is intended to be read aloud.
“These Flowers Were Held by Broken Vases” touches on personal aspects in Jackson’s life that people can relate with. He also incorporates current disputes on racial and social injustice in America.
“One of the main aspects is learning to heal and live your life again after you have endured a lot of tragedies,” Jackson said.
Many African-American figures who accomplished great feats within the realm of writing and civil rights are mentioned throughout the book and served as inspirations for it. Some of these figures include Trayvon Martin, Assata Shakur, Tupac Shakur, Malcolm X and Maya Angelou.
“I think it’s a poet’s responsibility to address the times that we’re in,” Jackson said. “It’s always been the writer’s responsibility … like Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. They spoke about the injustices that were occurring.”
After two years of working on the book, Jackson’s work was published on Sept. 20, 2016. Jackson plans to continue writing.
“It’s definitely my purpose,” Jackson said. “I don’t think I can live without writing.”
As this is his first publication, Jackson hopes to continue to build an audience while providing a medium that promotes peace.
Many Troy University students as well as students across other campuses have already read the novel.
“I had heard Will do some spoken word poetry and loved the way he used words,” said Bronte Pruitt, a senior political science major from Oxford. “I knew that William was very interested in social justice issues, as am I, so I was just really interested to see how he would incorporate those themes.”
Jessica Edwards, a junior social work major from Tuscaloosa, said she was greatly moved by Jackson’s words.
“There’s so much beauty in how he finds ways to connect the objects, feelings and thoughts,” Edwards said. “Each poem is a miniature testimony of someone. It’s like he’s writing for more than just himself.”
Edwards was unable to pick only one poem as her favorite, loving the book in its entirety.
“His book is raw,” Edwards said. She gives the book a 5/5 star rating and eagerly looks forward to reading more of Jackson’s works in the future.
She described connecting with the book in more ways than one, feeling his emotions through his words as if they were her own.
“No matter their race, sexual orientation or beliefs, it’s just intriguing and magical,” Edwards said.
Jackson described getting published as a surreal moment in his life, being something he’s wanted and waited for for so long.
He advises those who also wish to be published to dedicate themselves to their craft.
“My No. 1 tip is to be honest… Be true to yourself,” Jackson said.
The book can be found on Amazon or For more information about the book and further news of future works, you can visit “These Flowers Were Held by Broken Vases Discussion Forum” on Facebook.

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