Mark Jarman Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

In addition to poetry, Mark Jarman has written numerous essays on poetry, some of which have been collected in The Reaper Essays (1996; with Robert McDowell), The Secret of Poetry: Essays (2001), and Body and Soul: Essays on Poetry (2002). He also contributes book reviews and occasional essays to Hudson Review and The Gettysburg Review, among other literary periodicals. He cofounded the literary magazine The Reaper with McDowell in 1980 and coedited the anthology Rebel Angels: Twenty-five Poets of the New Formalism with fellow poet-critic David Mason in 1996.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Mark Jarman has gained national and international recognition for his poetry since 1974, when he won the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Henry Jackson Award for Tonight Is the Night of the Prom, written while he was a student. He also won the Poets’ Prize (University of Iowa) from the Academy of American Poets in 1975 and again in 1991 for The Black Riviera. His sixth collection of verse, Questions for Ecclesiastes, was listed as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (1997). Jarman won the Leonore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets (1998), the Avalon Award for Creative Excellence from David Lipscomb University (2003), and the Books-Across-the-Sea Award from the English Speaking Union (2006). He was named the Ferrol A. Sams, Jr., Distinguished Writer in Residence at Mercer University (2009). He has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1977, 1984, 1992), the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference (1985), and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1991-1992). He has served as a distinguished poetry teacher for the Bread Loaf Writers’ workshop and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, founded by Dana Gioia and Michael Peich.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Becker, Robin. Review of Epistles. Ploughshares 33, no. 4 (Winter 2007/2008): 202-203. Poet Becker praises Jarman’s work, noting that his narrators are “elevated and plain-spoken” and that he has successfully injected wit and humor into the work.

Bridgford, Kim. “Mark Jarman.” In American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies, Supplement XVII, edited by Jay Parini. Farmington Hill, Mich.: Thomson Gale, 2008. Contains a biography of Jarman that examines his poetry and provides critical analysis.

Golding, Alan. “American Poet-Teachers and the Academy.” In A Concise Companion to Twentieth-Century American Poetry, edited by Stephen Fredman. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005. Discusses the role of the poet within higher education, offering a study of the professionalization of creative writing relevant to understanding Jarman’s roles as poet, teacher, and literary critic.

Jarman, Mark. “A Conversation with Mark Jarman.” Interview by Jim Murphy. Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion 33 (Winter, 2001-2002): 63-78. An interview that traces Jarman’s development as a poet with special reference to his work since the late 1990’s.

Schneller, Beverly. “Questions for Ecclesiastes.” In Masterplots II: Christian Literature, edited by John K. Roth. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2008. A lengthy analysis of Questions for Ecclesiastes that notes that Jarman challenges intellectual complacency in his poetry.

Witek, Terri. “Mark Jarman.” In New Formalist Poets, edited by Jonathan N. Barron and Bruce Meyer. Vol. 282 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Provides an overview and analysis of Jarman’s major poetry up to 2000 within the context of his engagement with the New Narrative and New Formalist movements in American verse.