Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Zachary Michael Jack  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction Non-Fiction Poetry



Illinois Connection

Jack is an Associate Professor of English at North Central College in Naperville.

Biographical and Professional Information

Zachary Michael Jack has published more than twenty award-winning books in a variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, literary journalism, creative nonfiction, and personal essay, in addition to his work as a playwright. Jack's fiction has earned national runner-up honors in its class in the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award; his poetry has been awarded the Prentice Hall Prize, and his nonfiction has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize, the Theodore Saloutos Award, the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, the Herbert Warren Wind Award, and the Shambaugh Award, among others. His golf writing has also earned him recognition as an Editor's Pick by Golf Digest and a Best Books of 2011 by Golf magazine. He has also edited many books including: *''Student Body: A Benefit Mystery Novella'' *''Love of the Land: Essential Farm and Conservation Readings from an American Golden Age, 1880-1920'' *''The Green Roosevelt: Theodore Roosevelt in Appreciation of Wilderness, Wildlife, and Wild Places'' *''Inside the Ropes: Sportswriters Get Their Game On'' *''The Plowman Sings : The Essential Fiction, Poetry, and Drama of America's Forgotten Regionalist Jay G. Sigmund'' *''Homer Croy Corn Country: Travel Writing, Literary Journalism, Memoir'' *''Letters To A Young Iowan: Good Sense From The Good Folks of Iowa For Young People Everywhere''*''Liberty Hyde Bailey: Essential Agrarian and Environmental Writings'' *''Black Earth and Ivory Tower: New American Essays from Farm and Classroom'' *''Participatory Sportswriting: An Anthology 1870-1937''*''Uncle Henry Wallace: Letters to Farm Families'' - the updated edition of ''The Furrow and Us'' which was authored by his great-grandfather. Jack was a contributor to the book, ''Winning on the North Side: The 1929 Chicago Cubs'' and the writer of the introduction of the book, ''Farewell to Sport.'' The author and his work have also been featured in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, the Indianapolis Star, and the Des Moines Register. Jack's books have been favorably reviewed by the The New York Review of Books, Publisher's Weekly, Choice, Kirkus, Foreword Reviews, and other industry-shaping opinion-makers.An associate professor of English, he teaches Writing, Editing, and Publishing Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program at North Central College and speaks to groups nationwide.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

ISBN: 1595409610


In his eagerly awaited poetic debut, Zachary Michael Jack takes his readers on mind-bending, mytho-poetic travels from modern-day rural Mexico to the American Great Plains of the early century and back again. Employing an unlikely list of dramatis personae ranging from Tom Selleck to Nikita Krushchev, Jack's many-voiced story-in-poems follows his narrator's solitary stay in a Mexican mission and the heart-rending dialogue with Bird-an anthropomorphized alter-ego and trickster figure-that ensues. By turns, sad, funny, and wise, The Inanity of Music and Wings is both inimitable and delightfully uncanny-a wonderbeast of a collection part American Gothic, part Don Quixote, and wholly original. ~~~~~~Bio: Zachary Michael Jack is the author of the fine arts poetry chapbook The Story of Grief and the editor of two previous essay collections: Black Earth and Ivory Tower: New American Essays from Farm and Classroom and The Furrow and Us. His poetry has earned him the Prentice Hall Poetry Prize, a nomination for a Pushcart (Best of the Small Presses) Prize, and writing residencies at New York's prestigious Blue Mountain Center and Ireland's Tyrone Guthrie Centre, among others. A native of Iowa, where his family has farmed since before the Civil War, Jack is an assistant professor of English at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and the director-founder of Iowa School of Lost Arts for children.

Perfectly Against the Sun
ISBN: 0977721701

Smithtown Press. 2006

In PERFECTLY AGAINST THE SUN, Zachary Michael Jack takes his readers to a middle west more far-out and more fantastical than ever imagined. In these groundbreaking tone poems, the great swath of middle country from Akron, to Wichita, to Paducah is bathed in blue, shadowed by archetypes animal and human, burned through by a fiercely purifying sun. In Jack's exquisitely layered poetic vision, the black-dirt Delta towns of Memphis and Cairo turn modern-day necropolis

Waterloo, Iowa becomes the waterloo of a thousand last stands

and row upon row of Kansas corn suggests an afterlife. The book's protagonist, alternately wearing the masks of tragedian, librettist, auteur, athlete, and impressionist, unearths the deep roots that sustain and bind, imagining his way into, and way out of, losses suffered deep in the heart of the Heartland. Here, the camp horror of Hollywood assumes eerie resonance, the athletic field reads as timeless epic, and the famously blank canvas of the Great Plains whirls into a painterly starry night. From the author of THE INANITY OF MUSIC AND WINGS comes a second book-length collection announcing a poet-storyteller among the best of his rising generation. "Zachary Michael Jack's style . Agrarian Surrealism? Homespun L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E? A tractor with a photon engine!" --Jim Clark, author of DANCING ON CANAAN'S RUINS and HANDIWORK "Here is a poet who goes about his art and craft with gusto, subtlety, and fearlessness. Each poem brings us home truths from the Heartland in many miraculous ways." --Dave Etter, author of THE ESSENTIAL DAVE ETTER and more than two dozen books of poems. "An amalgam as deep and rich as the author's native soil. " --Don Johnson, editor of HUMMERS, KNUCKLERS, AND SLOW CURVES: CONTEMPORARY BASEBALL POEMS.

Iowa: The Definitive Collection
ISBN: 1888160381

Ice Cube Press. 2009

Iowa, the Definitive Collection gathers for student, teacher, researcher, and leisure reader alike a rich harvest of Iowa lore as told by a bevy of its most famous and forgotten voices Iowa history as made and told by Iowans, for Iowans. Totaling over 500 browsable pages and nearly 100 highly readable, classic and contemporary selections, this mammoth compendium of Iowa history, literature, and lore captures the Hawkeye State more diversely and more comprehensively than ever before. Here is a book a big book of Iowa readings of every conceivable kind (campaign platforms, creeds, diaries, editorials, ethnographic studies, fictions, government documents, history, humor, journalism, legal opinions, letters, memoirs, pamphlets, speeches, travel narratives, and more) and of every historical vintage (from Black Hawk s lament on being ordered to move west to Iowa in 1831 to Iowa writer-anthropologist Robert Leonard s freshly-penned roll call of the many different Iowans he has known). Between these covers, world-famous sons and daughters of Iowa, including Carrie Chapman Catt, Bob Feller, Susan Glaspell, Herbert Hoover, Ted Kooser, Aldo Leopold, Glenn Miller, Wallace Stegner, Henry Wallace, Grant Wood, and many others join a chorus of forgotten or neglected native greats to tell the story of their home state as only Iowans can tell it. Perfect fodder for Iowa history and literature classes, book clubs, civic organizations, museums, libraries, and visitor centers across the Land Between Two Rivers, Iowa, the Definitive Collection offers a first-of-its-kind, popular documentary history suitable for singing loudly, proudly, and circumspectly across the State, and across generations.

What Cheer: A Love Story
ISBN: 188816042X

Tall Corn Books. 2010

Part romantic comedy, part whodunit, part great American road trip, What Cheer asks a lover's ageless questions: where, when, and with whom? Here's a celebration of love sprung from perfectly surreal yet real places What Cheer, Lost Nation, Story County. Here s a comedy of errors featuring three not-yet-over-the-hill friends, a series of dreamy love letters, and a mysterious list of warm, nearly-gone touchstones that inspire a rollicking ride through the Heartland. What Cheer is love medicine for those whose daisy chains reach the sweetest, most far-flung places.

The Links of Evalon
ISBN: 0984508309

Sportswriters Collaborative Press. 2010

"It is not uncommon for fathers and sons to come to blows if the two love one another." So says Dr. Harlan Cragg, an ageless, cantankerous golf pro determined to probe the differences between Robert and Jack Johannes, a loving father and son grown distant. When the pair answer the doctor's summons to the Evalon Island Golf Academy, they sign on to a series of mystical tests of their essential nature, their true mettle. Storm-stayed, the duo must confront golfing angels and demons while unearthing the startling legacies of golfers before them. Soon father and son have passed every exam save one: a final round on the famed Links of Evalon destined to change their partnership forever. A timeless, richly illustrated novel for golfers young and old, The Links of Evalon is