Tom Clark (poet)

Tom Clark (poet)

Tom Clark (born March 1, 1941) is an American poet, editor and biographer. Clark was born on the Near West Side of Chicago and married Angelica Heinegg, at St. Mark’s Church, New York City, on March 22, 1968 [biographical data on Clark taken from contributor's notes section at [ The Holiday Album: Greeting Card Poems For All Occasions] feature at Jacket Magazine, edited by Elaine Equi, with a poem by Clark] . Currently (as of 2006) residing in California, Tom Clark's recent books of poetry are "Light & Shade: New and Selected Poems" (Coffee House, 2006) and "THRENODY" (effing press, 2006).


Tom Clark, a native of Chicago, attended the University of Michigan where he became a student of the poet Donald Hall. Upon graduation in 1963, Clark was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and left for England to study at Cambridge and later, Essex University. When Hall resigned his position as Poetry Editor of The Paris Review in 1964, he recommended his former student as his replacement and Clark, a 22 year-old who had yet to publish a book, found himself an editor for one of the most important literary magazines of the day. Clark quickly demonstrated his good instincts by printing early work by many of the poets who would later be associated with the New York School. Clark served as poetry editor of The Paris Review until 1973. While at Essex, Clark edited and printed his famous Once series of mimeographed magazines. He was also co-founder and editor with the young British poet, Andrew Crozier, of the short-lived but important Wivenhoe Park Review .

On returning to the U.S. in 1967, Clark settled in New York and became an integral part of the poetry scene then emerging on the Lower East Side. Clark had printed the work of many of these poets--Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Bill Berkson, John Ashbery, Anne Waldman, Joe Brainard, and others--in The Paris Review , The Wivenhow Park Review , and the Once series. In the early 1970s, Clark was the first of many poets to migrate to Bolinas, California. During his residencies in New York and Bolinas, Clark produced nearly 50 books, chapbooks, broadsides, as well as two books on baseball, Champagne and Baloney (1976) and No Big Deal (1977), and a biography, The World of Damon Runyan (1978).

Clark moved to Boulder, Colorado where he joined the Boulder Monthly as Senior Writer from 1978-1979. He later served as editor of the magazine. While on the Boulder Monthly staff, Clark became involved on an investigation of the Naropa Institute out of which he produced two books and a number of magazine articles. Currently residing in California, Clark remains an active writer producing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. In 1991, he published a biography of Charles Olson, one of his poetic mentors, entitled Charles Olson: The Allegory of a Poet’s Life (Norton: 1991).

In the collection of Washington University, Tom Clark's Papers is a unique assemblage of material from two different periods in the career of this versatile figure. The first group consists of correspondence, manuscripts, and editorial material relating to Clark's second book The Sand Burg (London: Ferry Press, 1966). The heart of the collection is 84 letters from 1964-1966 written by Clark to Andrew Crozier who operated the Ferry Press. In these letters Clark discusses the contemporary poetry scene, his editorial work, his own writing, and personal matters. Taken together, these letters are a fascinating glimpse at an emerging poet learning his craft and developing as a writer.

The second group of materials in the Tom Clark Papers relates to Clark's investigation of the Naropa Institute, a center for Buddhist studies located in Boulder, Colorado. The investigation focuses upon "the Merwin incident", a 1975 confrontation between the poet W.S. Merwin and Chogyam Trungpa, the founder and director of the Naropa Institute. The incident became, and remains today, a source of controversy in the American poetry community. Clark also examined the influence of Naropa's celebrated Poetics Department, "The Jack Kerouac School of disembodied Poetics," upon the American poetry community. Out of this research Clark produced two highly controversial books, The Master (1979) and The Great Naropa Poetry Wars (1980). Included in this material are all of Clark's manuscripts and research notes, magazine and printed materials, correspondence, and miscellany, as well as material relating to Ed Sanders' The Party (1977). Tom Clark's Naropa Archive should prove to be an important documentary source for this controversial episode in the history of American poetry.

His critical biographies of some of the crucial literary figures of the 20th century include:

*"Late Returns: A Memoir of Ted Berrigan",
*"Jack Kerouac: A Biography",
*"Robert Creeley and the Genius of the American Common Place",
*"Charles Olson: The Allegory of a Poet’s Life", and
*"Edward Dorn: A World of Difference"

His literary essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Times Literary Supplement, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, London Review of Books, and many other journals; some of his essays on contemporary poetry have been collected in "The Poetry Beat: Reviewing the Eighties". Since 1987 he has taught Poetics at New College of California. [ [ Tom Clark Author Page] at the "Jacket Magazine" website]


External links

*worldcat id|id=lccn-n86-38301
* [ The World Begins: A visit with Tom Clark] this extensive feature at "Big Bridge" on-line magazine includes poems, essays, and interviews. It also includes correspondence between Tom Clark and Dale Smith, an essay on Clark as a teacher from effing mag editor David Hadbawnik, and Dale Smith's in depth review of "Threnody".
* [ Tom Clark Author Page]


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