Mark Jarman was born on June 5, 1952, in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, to Donald Ray, a minister in the Disciples of Christ Christian Church, and Bo Dee Foster Jarman. From 1958 to 1961, the Jarman family lived in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, where the poet’s father was a pastor, before relocating to another church in Redondo Beach, California. Jarman received a B.A. in English in 1974 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned an M.F.A. in 1976 from the University of Iowa. Jarman married Amy Kane, a professional soprano, in 1974, and the couple had two daughters, to whom Jarman has looked for inspiration and has dedicated individual poems. He and his family settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where Jarman became part of the English department at Vanderbilt University in 1983. He was named Centennial Professor of English in 2007. Jarman has lived and worked internationally and frequently contributes narrative essays about his experiences, including “Letter from Sofia” (Hudson Review, Spring, 2004), about his experience as part of American Music Week at the American University in Bulgaria.