A Night to Remember Jack Collom.
Andrew Schelling, Elizabeth Robinson, Laura Saffioti, Mark DuCharme, Val Wheeler, Joe Richey, Sam Fuqua, Laura Wright, Christine Martinez, Michael Wojczuk and Izzy Martinez.
Jack Collom was born in Chicago. He joined the US Air Force and was posted in Libya and Germany before returning to the United States. He earned a BA in forestry and English and an MA in English literature from the University of Colorado. Collom started publishing his poetry in the 1960s; his more recent publications were Entering the City (1997), Dog Sonnets (1998), the 500-plus page collection Red Car Goes By (2001), and Situations, Sings with Lyn Hejinian (2008).
Collom’s poetry takes its genesis from everyday happenings, activities, and observations; his book on writing for and by children, Poetry Everywhere (1994), reflects this outlook. His poems for adults are often grounded in the details of the natural world, and he has been described as an ecological poet. Collom was active as a teacher of creative writing for adults and children since the 1970s. He has taught for Poets-in-the-Schools and as an adjunct professor at Naropa University, where he teaches ecology and literature. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He died in 2017.
Partly is a wonderland greenhouse that Jack built and then allowed us to enter and it glows like a signal that means human beings can be great observers and creators of beauty and fun, all because of what exists. Greatest are the computer anagrams and statements that lay out some lovely mistakes.
Bernadette Mayer, author of Works And Days
Jack Collom and his poetry were inseparable. Both were humorously profound, and right up to the end filled with an (almost) innocent wonder at all the world has to offer. Language was his toy, his place, his way of communicating with us and with nature.
Lucy R. Lippard, author of Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics and Art in the Changing West
Jack Collom wrote with a wider range and bigger heart than any other North American poet of the past 100 years. His books are field guides to everything that makes you love poetry. Partly is like a great day's scramble through bramble bushes, bogs, over boulders, under trees, into the world of birds, vernacular speech, posters of snow leopards, moss, lichen, watch out for that cactus! It is fun and rough & tumble. I'd rather spend a day with a Jack Collom book than in the Library of Congress.
Andrew Schelling, author of Tracks Along the Left Coast: Jaime de Angulo and Pacific Coast Culture.
Jack Collom lived a life of poetry as few ever do or could -- not just sharp and freshly-moving poems, but a heart of compassion and quiet jest; constant open eye and spirit for the youngest and oldest beings who crossed his path. Jack was the very meaning of "soul." His legacy is more than just writings and teachings, it's a whole life. It will grow.
Gary Snyder, author of The Great Clod: Notes and Memories on the Natural History of China and Japan
Jack Collom's poetic ethos is resoundingly affirmative. In a word? Everything. In poetry, Collom found a resource that couldn't be extinguished--"made of meaning and unmeaning," and seeded with "embryo specks of beauty and kindness." No harmony, no dissonance, no particular, no universal, no absurdity, and neither and tenderness need be--could ever be!--excluded from his exploration. (As he writes in the forward to this book, "Noticed I was discovering (not simply recording) what I knew.") To read these poems is to understand that poetry is breath which becomes the lung, breathing through and with it. How fortunate that we can respire and inspire with Jack Collom, for here is a poet who had the humility to know that absolutely nothing was beneath his attention and the genius to track poetry's wonder into endlessness.
Elizabeth Robinson, author of On Ghosts and Rumor
Partly, Jack Collom's last personally selected poems written over many decades, is a rambling trove of his left-hand poetics of the ordinary and the fanciful, the quick and the careful. If ordinary and fanciful, care and quickness seem contradictory, they are not in these poems (and graphics) where they are made and arrive in the same gesture. This is what I have always loved in Jack's poetry, the warmth of personal feeling in the spontaneous take and movability of context allowed for the words chosen, or lines drawn. Little concern for direction and finish-line, these poems are made from his momentary love of this act.
Reed Bye, author of Join the Planets
Jack Collom realized that it's a Long Long Sacred Haul, from what they call juvenilia to the full blown lines of a poet's "acme," and then the Final Flow. He was indeed on a Sacred Trail. His good will, his profound sense of humor, and his utmost concern for the apt Survival of Humankind and all Plants and Animals, shine forth in his work. Jack's worth slowing down for, and worth the expending of daily study and pondering. In his remarkable history traced in his poetry, he lives on and on and on.
Ed Sanders, author of Broken Glory: The Final Years of Robert F. Kennedy
Jack Collom was a great inventor, whose goal was to destabilize the world of poetry, and cut through all the repressive forces to make something fresh, instantly renewable, and true to life. Every poem was like a new morning, a fresh take, as if seen through the eyes of a child, as if a measure of caprice was the magic light which gives life meaning. His total work is intrepid, incorrigible, and spills over the side of the page, with an endless rigor, an intelligence, and an intuitive sense of when to stop and go on. All the splendor in the grass is right here.
Lewis Warsh, author of Out of the Question
Toward the end of the short prefatory comment that Jack Collom wrote for this collection, he wrote, "Variety is the basic fact." Certainly, as the works that comprise Partly make clear, this remark speaks directly to Jack's poetry: formal variety, thematic variety, variations on the iamb or other ruling metric unit, and sometimes elements so various on a page as to push plenitude toward gorgeous messiness: the rush of ungovernable life. And, ultimately, it is of life that the observation "Variety is the basic fact" speaks. No poet ever has been so delighted by life and generous in the living of his own. Partly is Jack Collom's parting gift to life, a work of sheer affirmation carried out over a lifetime of intellectual and linguistic vivacity. It is a masterpiece of happiness, ever seriously but mischievously at play with happenstance. Thank you, Jack.
Lyn Hejinian, author of The Book of a Thousand Eyes
When Jack was alive, he was my favorite living poet--although I was unable really to separate my love of his work from my love of him. Now that he's died, he joins my personal pantheon, including the usual suspects and Jubilee saints. Do they yodel in Heaven?
Peter Lamborn Wilson, author of Black Fez Manifesto