“In this wonderful collection of essays, Mark Jarman explores with wit and passion the practice of poetry―of making it, of reading it, of living it. In his vivid analyses of works by Brooks, Boisseau, Donne, Herbert, Rukeyser and Twichell, among others, he explores how the poems and their authors negotiate time and mortality, faith and devotion. He also offers an intimate examination of his own gorgeous work and how it comes onto the page. A delight for readers and writers of poetry.”―Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and Mercury
The essays in Dailiness are about how a poet makes a poem. For Mark Jarman a poem results from a deliberate and conscious act. He is especially interested in the way human consciousness connects devotional prayer to poetry. In these essays he considers poems written millennia apart―from Gilgamesh to George Herbert’s work, from the poems of Robert Frost to those of Seamus Heaney, to his own recently-written poems and those of his contemporaries. As the poems celebrate the work of daily creation, they possess a religious aspect. In Dailiness Jarman sheds light on how poems accomplish this work.
"These essays display a profound, thoughtful, rigorous attention to poetry, especially its roots and formal structure. Jarman is a formal poet, and his explication of Donne, Herbert, and Hopkins, as well as contemporary poets you might not expect (Michelle Boisseau, Rita Dove, Brenda Hillman, and Sophia Stid, for example) is insightful and rewarding to read . . . His specific ability to help the reader understand why a poem or even a particular word works is extraordinary . . . Clearly, Jarman has been out in the world as well as daily at his desk, and we students of poetry benefit from his explorations."―ZYZZYVAAlso available as an ebook:
"Jarman’s sensibility as a poet and critic characterizes itself with plainspoken sophistication rooted widely and securely in the best intellectual traditions of his art . . . One of the more impressive attributes of Jarman’s Dailiness is the range of poems and poets he addresses in each essay, though perhaps most especially in 'American Devotions,' 'Becoming and Going,' and 'Something Like That: A Pronoun’s Life in Poetry.' Yet, it is not just the range that impresses, but the way in which Jarman quantum leaps, as it were, from poem to poem, poet to poet, with the express effect permitting the reader to trail and finally experience the surprising connections he discovers between and among various works, as if he had uncovered some spooky action at a distance running through his chosen examples."―Literary Matters
"An uplifting way to think about writing daily."―Chapter 16
"In the authoritative, patient, and conversational style of an accomplished poet and experienced teacher, Jarman, who teaches English at Vanderbilt University, highlights the virtues of the habit of writing and the results of those daily investments. He calls such disciplined work 'adventures of routine,' suggesting that discoveries come when regular attention is paid to one’s writing. Jarman invites readers into his classroom as he covers a broad range of topics: writing as a way of life, inner aspects of poetry, comments on the genre of the devotional poem."―The Christian Century
"In 'Days' Philip Larkin writes, 'Where can we live but days?' Mark Jarman might reply, 'Where can we write but days?' Dailiness conjures up the quotidian, the everyday, the workaday, but also an elevated awareness of the present as we are in it mid-stream, and poetry as (in Auden’s words) 'a way of happening.' In these thoughtful and thought-provoking essays on the art and craft of poetry, from pronoun to metaphor, Herbert to Heaney, repetition to translation, Jarman rings the changes on 'dailiness,' calling us back to attention, writing as devotion."―A. E. Stallings, author of Like
"A deep and wide-ranging knowledge/appreciation of poetry and the tradition―how the values and craft of poetry apply practically―are the foundation of Dailiness. Yet this is not a handbook or an academic study; rather, it is a true, personal, and entirely accessible account detailing how care, attention, and thoughtfulness lead to meaning. From the Metaphysicals to the Moderns and contemporary poets, from plays to pop lyrics, this is a devotional book―in both the vocational and spiritual sense of that word―by a master of the art, illustrating the ways in which poetry celebrates and illuminates being as an act of consciousness, and, moreover, how the making and understanding of poems are relevant to our lives in the moment, and perhaps in a life to come."―Christopher Buckley, author of Star Journal and Cruising State
"'Daily life is the native country where we feel at home,' writes Mark Jarman in this elegant book. If we think of elegance in its root sense as selection and choice, we can find beauty in deliberation, 'the hours in the practice room' or 'at the desk.' Jarman’s elegant essays strike out profoundly from subjects like Gilgamesh and The Aeneid to the best devotional poetry and contemporary practice. This is a book to live with as much as to read. It will keep you coming back."―David Mason, author of Ludlow and Voices, Places
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Mark Jarman is the author of eleven books of poetry. The Heronry is his most recent. He has also published two books of essays and reviews, won awards for his poetry, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.