Mark Jarman

(5 June 1952 / Mount Sterling, Kentucky)

Mark Jarman
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Mark F. Jarman is an American poet and critic often identified with the New Narrative branch of the New Formalism; he was co-editor with Robert McDowell of The Reaper throughout the 1980s. Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, he is the author of ten books of poetry, two books of essays, and a book of essays co-authored with Robert McDowell. He co-edited the anthology Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism with David Mason.

Jarman's awards for poetry include a Joseph Henry Jackson Award, three grants from the NEA, and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His book The Black Riviera won the 1991 Poets' Prize. Questions for Ecclesiastes was... more »

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Best Poem of Mark Jarman

Ground Swell

Is nothing real but when I was fifteen,
Going on sixteen, like a corny song?
I see myself so clearly then, and painfully--
Knees bleeding through my usher's uniform
Behind the candy counter in the theater
After a morning's surfing; paddling frantically
To top the brisk outsiders coming to wreck me,
Trundle me clumsily along the beach floor's
Gravel and sand; my knees aching with salt.
Is that all I have to write about?
You write about the life that's vividest.
And if that is your own, that is your subject.
And if the years before and after sixteen
Are ...

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