Farmer, Rod(ney Bruce) 1947-
FARMER, Rod(ney Bruce) 1947-
PERSONAL: Born June 9, 1947, in Carthage, MO; son of Alvin (a farmer) and Kathleen Farmer; married 1986; wife's name, Margaret. Ethnicity: "Anglo." Education: Central Missouri State University B.S., 1968, M.A., 1972; University of Missouri—Columbia, Ph. D., 1978; University of Maine, postdoctoral study, 1984-85.
ADDRESSES: Home—122 Anson St., Farmington, ME 04938. Office—Franklin Hall, University of Maine—Farmington, 252 Main St., Farmington, ME 04938. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Substitute schoolteacher in Kansas City, MO, 1968-69; high school teacher of history and social science, Lincoln, MO, 1973-76; University of Maine—Farmington, assistant professor, 1978-82, associate professor, 1982-87, professor of history and education, 1987—, chair, Department of Secondary Education, 1994-2001. Also worked as farm laborer, dump truck driver, and grocery store clerk. Military service: U.S. Army, 1969-70; served in Vietnam.
MEMBER: National Council for the Social Studies, National Council for History Education, New England History Teachers Association, Maine Council for the Social Studies (president, 1987-88; member of executive committee), Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Delta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright fellowships for India, 1980, Israel, 1982, and Pakistan, 1986; grant for Japan, Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs, 1981; grant for Taiwan, Republic of China, 1989; grant for Japan, Five College Center for East Asian Studies, 1991; Award for Excellence in Social Studies, Maine Council for the Social Studies, 1994.
American Government (study guide and workbook), University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 1978.
Youth in Conflict (study guide and workbook), University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 1979.
Universal Essence (poetry), Brunswick Publishing (Lawrenceville, VA), 1986.
Work represented in anthologies. Columnist for Maine in Print, 1997-99. Contributor of hundreds of poems and numerous articles, essays, and reviews to periodicals, including Maine Historical Society Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Green's, Rattle, Webster Review, New England Journal of History, Humanist, Mind Matters Review, Poet, and Art Times.
SIDELIGHTS: Rod Farmer told CA: "My method of writing poetry is for me to write what I need to say and in the most attractive and comprehensible way I can write it. What I need to say determines, to a great extent, how I write. Often I do not know what I need to say until I have written the poem. I may come across a word, a phrase, or an image from reading or from daily life. That word, phrase, or image grabs me, pushes me to a yellow tablet, and places a pen in my hand. Then I write.
"I find the original writing of a poem, writing the first draft, somewhat similar to making love. Rather than analyze myself and my writing while I am writing, I just do it. Analysis comes later, after the composition and during the revisions. Watching myself write would lead to performance anxiety, a common cause of writer's block—and other problems. I want to enjoy the spiritual experience of creating my poem. I want the excitement; I employ the excitement in creating. Writing the first draft can be both a spiritual and a sensuous experience if I live inside of that creative moment, which is impossible if I play English teacher with myself while I am creating. I am the free and uninhibited lover while composing; I am the uptight English teacher while revising.
"I do lots of revising. I have revised poems after they have been published and even reprinted a time or two. Then I may revise again. I have had some poems reprinted several times, and each reprint usually was from a new revision. I am always revising because every poem is alive, capable of growth and refinement. As long as I am alive, my poems are alive and capable of change. As I grow and change, I see my earlier poems differently. Revision is, for me, a natural result of the poet growing over time.
"I write the poetry of Rod Farmer, not the poetry of some poetic school. Schools have walls and schedules. Writing poetry is my year-long spiritual summer vacation. The last thing I want to do is give up my independence by belonging to a poetic school or by joining some exclusive literary circle (box?). The poet's independent voice can select the subjects and fill the bodies of the poet's poems. I avoid writing formulas and stick with the spiritual experience of creating. According to Anaïs Nin, Freud said: 'Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me.' In various areas of human life where Freud made discoveries, he later found that some poet had earlier traveled that same ground. These early explorer poets were, often, carried to distant shores by creative moments, not by writing formulas. So, my advice is, in a secular way, let the spirit move you when you write poetry."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Poetic Page, November/December, 1994, Rod Farmer, "How I Write," pp. 13-14.