Laura Heller

Poet in Residence – Jack Collom at Woodland Pattern

By - Jun 1st, 2009 11:40 am
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(Milwaukee, WI) On Saturday, June 6, 2009, poet-in-residence Jack Collom will read from his latest collections of poetry Exchanges of Earth & Sky and Situations, Sings. Collom will also lead an eco-poetics workshop “What’s Funny? Nature?” on Saturday afternoon from 2pm-5pm.

Jack Collom was born in Chicago, Illinois, 8 November 1931, and grew up in nearby Western Springs.  He walked a lot in Salt Creek Woods and began bird watching at age 11. He joined the U.S. Air Force and wrote his first poems in Tripoli, Libya. After spending time in Germany, he returned to the U.S. and worked in factories for twenty years. He earned an MA in English on the GI Bill, and has taught Creative Writing free-lance for over thirty years. He is Adjunct Professor at Naropa University, where he received the 2001 President’s Award for Faculty and has been teaching Eco-lit (Ecology Literature) for 19 consecutive years, as well as outreach teacher-training.

Collom has authored 22 books and chapbooks of poetry. He is, moreover, responsible for three collections (with essays and commentary) of writings by children, all published by Teachers & Writers Collaborative, New York.  In 2001, Tuumba Press issued a more than 500-page-long volume, Red Car Goes By, as his Selected Poems. His latest books are Exchanges of Earth & Sky and Situations, Sings (with Lyn Hejinian).

Jack Collom long ago rejected the notion that a distinction is to be made between the quotidian and the poetic. There is poetry everywhere. But to find poetry everywhere means that one is incessantly engaged with the world at the level of poetry…. His attention to surprise is pronounced but never programmatic. The result is “the dance and weave between fierce notation and ceilingless song.” from the Editors’ Preface to Red Car Goes By

Eco-poetics Workshop with Jack Collom

Saturday, June 6, 2-5pm  ($25 includes ticket to the evening reading)


To me, Humor and Nature are one, or maybe one and a half. Nature is everything and everything is funny. Case closed. Incongruity donut, I mean done it. We’ll look into some old shell games (like which is funnier, skeletons or people? trees without leaves or trees with leaves?) but mostly we’ll make our own via tradeoff poems, trying to write something that isn’t funny, and other doomed enterprises. We’ll also woodpecker a little surreal.

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