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Jack Collom

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Jack Collom


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John Aldridge Collom November 8, 1931 (age 92) Chicago, Illinois (

poet, teachers, essayist

Edeltraud Maria Teresia Hopps (div. 1974)Mara Meshak (div.)Jennifer Heath

Nathaniel, Christopher, Franz, Sierra

Poetry everywhere, Red Car Goes by, Situations - Sings, Moving windows, Arguing with Somethin

Similar People
Lyn Hejinian, Anselm Hollo, Anne Waldman

Colorado State University

Biography of jack collom top 10 facts

John Aldridge "Jack" Collom (November 8, 1931 – July 2, 2017) was an American poet, essayist, and creative writing pedagogue. Included among the twenty-five books he published during his lifetime were Red Car Goes By: Selected Poems 1955–2000; Poetry Everywhere: Teaching Poetry Writing in School and in the Community; and Second Nature, which won the 2013 Colorado Book Award for Poetry. In the fields of education and pedagogy, he was involved in eco-literature, ecopoetics, and creative writing instruction for children.


Petals of poetry by isabella martinez and jack collom

Life and work

Jack Collom was born John Aldridge Collom in Chicago on November 8, 1931. He grew up in the small town of Western Springs, Illinois, spent much of his time birdwatching, and over the years became an inveterate bird-watcher. Collom moved to Fraser, Colorado, in 1947. He studied Forestry at Colorado A&M College where he earned a B.S. in 1952. Afterwards, he spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, and he started writing poetry in 1955 while stationed in Tripoli, Libya. After his discharge from the military, he moved back to the US after a brief time living in Germany, and worked in factories for twenty years while writing poetry.

He received his B.A. in English (1972) and M.A. in English literature (1974) from the University of Colorado, where he had studied on the G.I. Bill. In 1974, he began teaching in the "Poetry-in-the-Schools" programs in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. In 1980, he began teaching poetry in the public schools of New York City, by way of the "Poets In Public Service" and "Teachers & Writers" programs. Collom continued to teach creative writing to children for the next 35 years, in both elementary and secondary schools, where he developed a pedagogy for this type of educational approach.

I think of my general approach as organic, inductive, building from the children's familiars up, rather than teaching them intricate forms to master, or attempting to initiate them into a sophisticated sensibility. Time enough for that, and to avoid its pitfalls, when and if they have written personally for some while, and of course writing personally in some strong sense is what the most developed poetry still is. Heavy programming from me at this point would draw out less of their particular gifts.

Subsequently, Teachers & Writers Collaborative published three books of Collom's essays and commentary on this experience (which included the young students' poems), notably Poetry Everywhere and Moving Windows.

From 1966 to 1977, he published the work of many writers in a little magazine called "The". He was twice awarded Poetry Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2012 Collom received the Poetry Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. From 1986 until his death in 2017, Collom 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 in the United States. 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 were published in various venues, including ecopoetics, The Alphabet of Trees: A Guide to Writing Nature Poetry, and ISLE, the journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment.

He 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 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".

Personal life

Collom was married three times. He had three sons by his first marriage: Nathaniel, Christopher, and Franz. He had a daughter, Sierra, through a second marriage.

Jack Collom died in Boulder, Colorado on July 2, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Heath, his four grown children, and a grandson.

Selected publications

  • Arguing with Something Plato Said. (Rocky Ledge Editions, 1990) ISBN 9780961437831
  • The Task. (Baksun Books, 1996) ISBN 9781887997065
  • Red Car Goes By: Selected Poems 1955–2000. (Tuumba Press, 2001) ISBN 9781931157018
  • Exchanges of Earth and Sky. (Fish Drum Press, 2006) ISBN 9781929495085
  • Situations, Sings (with Lyn Hejinian). (Adventures in Poetry, 2007) ISBN 9780976161240
  • Second Nature. (Boulder, Co: Instance Press, 2012) ISBN 9781887997270
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry Everywhere: Teaching Poetry Writing in School and in the Community (with Sheryl Noethe). (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 1994; 2nd edition, 2007) ISBN 9780915924691
  • (contributor) Old Faithful: 18 Writers Present Their Favorite Writing Assignments, (ed. Ron Padgett). (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 1995; 2nd edition, 2007) ISBN 9780915924455
  • (editor) A Slow Flash of Light: An Anthology of Poems about Poetry. (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2008) ISBN 9780915924561
  • Moving Windows: Evaluating the Poetry Children Write. (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2000) ISBN 9780915924554
  • (contributor) The &NOW Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing (Illinois), 2013
  • References

    Jack Collom Wikipedia

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