J  A  R  E  D    C  A  R  T  E  R

1985 1994 1999

Jared Carter is a Midwesterner from Indiana. His paternal forebears emigrated to that state from the North Carolina highlands in the 1830s. They were Quakers, of English descent, who opposed the practice of slavery. At about the same time, his mother's people, who were Scotch-Irish, and who later supported the Populist cause, traveled in a covered wagon from Baltimore to Indiana.

Elias Baxter Decker, a great-great-grandfather on his mother's side, enlisted as a private soldier in the Union Army from 1861 to 1865. His company was among those units serving under Sherman's command during the Battle of Atlanta and on the subsequent March to the Sea. He was being mustered out near Washington on the day Lincoln was assassinated. One of his daughters, Cleva Honor Decker, became a rural schoolteacher. Shortly before the end of the Second World War, when she was of advanced age, she taught Jared Carter, who was then five years old, how to read.

His first published poems appeared in 1967. By the mid-1970s he had begun to write about an imaginary place called Mississinewa County — a conflation of the small Midwestern towns and rural counties he had come to know while working as a journalist and later as a textbook editor. He has continued to write about this regional world while producing many poems, such as those offered here, which range farther afield.

Additional details concerning his schooling, published works, and grants and awards may be found on his web site or in an entry under his name in volume 282 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, published in 2003 by Thomson Gale.

He is a private person, regarded by some as a poet's poet, by others as a considerable curmudgeon. The concluding paragraph of the DLB entry puts it this way: "Carter remains independent, unattached, and, for the most part, without official patronage from any quarter. For him, academic writing programs, poetry slams, ideological culture wars, and the assorted shouts and cries of contemporary American poetry all constitute a single 'road not taken.' Set apart from all that, he eschews labels and goes his own way."

Contact via the Guestbook on the website:
Jared Carter Poetry www.jaredcarter.com

Photo credits:
Ed Breen, Minnick Editorial, Richard Pflum