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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Mark Jarman Poems
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
Descriptions Of Heaven And Hell
The wave breaks And I'm carried into it. This is hell, I know, Yet my father laughs,
My Parents Have Come Home Laughing
My parents have come home laughing From the feast for Robert Burns, late, on foot; They have leaned against graveyard walls, Have bent double in the glittering frost,
The Black Riviera
There they are again.It's after dark. The rain begins its sober comedy, Slicking down their hair as they wait Under a pepper tree or eucalyptus,
They were talking to him about resurrection, about law, about the suffering ahead. They were talking as if to remind him who he was and who they were. He was not
In Ball's Market after surfing till noon, We stand in wet trunks, shivering, As icing dissolves off our sweet rolls Inside the heat-blued counter oven,
To raise a stump of rock into a tower, rolling a stone in place as the years pass. Strangers who only know your silhouette bid it farewell and travel to Japan,
Tale Of Two Cities
Sick as it approaches, sick as it departs. In fall the hulks of burned out houses stand unrazed.
There is a Renaissance painting of paradise In which people, still in their human bodies, Are embracing as if they'd just arrived in paradise
Spell For Encanto Creek
Tall blades of tufted grasses, keep on flowing. Towhees like good ideas, keep on flowing.
Then Saw The Problem
How do you turn into a flower of the field, the lily clothed to make Solomon rue his glory?
Comments about Mark Jarman
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