|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2009)|
Jack Collom (born November 8, 1931) is an American poet, teacher and essayist. His twenty-five books include Blue Heron & IBC, The Fox, Arguing with Something Plato Said, Red Car Goes By: Selected Poems 1955-2000, Exchanges of Earth and Sky and Situation Sings (with Lyn Hejinian). His latest book of poems, 'Second Nature', won the 2013 Colorado Book Award for Poetry. He has been anthologized in countless magazines and collections in the United States and abroad, from Best Poems of 1963 to The Best American Poetry 2004.
Named John Aldridge Collom by his parents, he was born in Chicago and grew up in the small town of Western Springs, Illinois, spending much of his time hiking and birding in nearby woods. He studied Forestry at Colorado A&M College, spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, then worked in factories for twenty years while writing poetry. In 1956 Jack married Edeltraud Maria Teresia Hopps in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. They moved to the United States in 1958, eventually settling in Boulder, Colorado. They had three sons; Nathaniel, Christopher, and Franz. They divorced in 1974, and Jack had a daughter, Sierra, through a second marriage, to Mara Meshak. He is currently married to writer and curator Jennifer Heath.
He received his BA and MA from the University of Colorado, on the GI Bill, and has taught creative writing to children of all ages for forty years. Teachers & Writers Collaborative has published three books of Jack's reflections on this experience, notably Poetry Everywhere and Moving Windows. From 1966 to 1977, he published the work of many leading lights in a little magazine called “The.” The National Endowment for the Arts has twice awarded him Poetry Fellowships, as has the Fund for Poetry, and he’s received grants and awards from various local organizations. In 2012 Collom was awarded the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Poetry Award.
Since 1986, Collom has taught at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics as an adjunct professor, where he shaped Writing Outreach, a community creative-writing project, into a course. In 1989, he pioneered Eco-Lit, one of the first ecology literature courses ever offered. Some of his accomplishments as an environmentalist-poet are documented in American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present. His nature writings and essays about the environment have been published in, among others, ecopoetics, The Alphabet of Trees: A Guide to Writing Nature Poetry, and ISLE, the journal of the American Society for Literature and the Environment.
He has read and taught throughout the United States, in Mexico, Costa Rica, Austria, Belgium, and Germany. In 2008, he was the plenary speaker at the “Poetic Ecologies” Conference at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. In 2009, he led a three-week Creativity and Aging Program at Woodland Pattern in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
He has worked with numerous dancers, visual artists and musician/composers, and recorded three CDs: Calluses of Poetry and Colors Born of Shadow, with Ken Bernstein, and Blue Yodel Blue Heron, with Dan Hankin and Sierra Collom.
In 2001, his adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado, declared and celebrated a “Jack Collom Day.”
Arguing with Something Plato Said, Rocky Ledge Editions (Colorado), 1990
Poetry Everywhere (with Sheryl Noethe), Teachers & Writers Collaborative (New York), 1994
The Task, Baksun Books (Colorado), 1996
Red Car Goes By: Selected Poems 1955-2000, Tuumba Press (California), 2001
Exchanges of Earth and Sky, Fish Drum Press (New York), 2006
Situations, Sings, with Lyn Hejinian, Adventures in Poetry (New York), 2008
Second Nature, Instance Press (Boulder), 2012
Contributed to The &NOW Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing (Illinois), 2013
- Works by or about Jack Collom in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Adventures in Poetry
- Fish Drum Press
- Jacket Magazine, « An Ecosystem of Writing Ideas
- Teachers & Writers Collaborative