Jack Crocker
September 16th, 2021
$ 19.99
Paperback & Hardcover

The Algorithm of I is Jack Crocker’s second collection of poems. The first, The Last Resort, was published in 2009 by the Texas Review Press. His poems have appeared in The Texas Review, Southern Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, and other journals, with fiction in The Cimarron Review. Poems have been anthologized in The Texas Anthology; Mississippi Writers: Reflections of Childhood; Texas Stories and Poems; and Florida in Poetry. He scripted and performed “Introduction to Folksongs” for Mississippi Educational Television that was aired nationally. He has written songs for StaFree Publishing Company and had a recording contract with Fretone Records of Memphis, Tennessee



Lawrence Broer
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida

In The Algorithm of I, Jack Crocker holds up a mirror to the human condition whose reflections, while intensely personal, are timeless in their search for an essential self. Thinking of the three great and simple images in whose presence the artist’s heart first opened—“the gospel womb of Delta dirt,” his “father’s walls,” or “Linda Boykin’s lips”—the speaker tracks himself in the multiple selves orbiting the center.

The chronology suggests a constant state of becoming. From the “ancestral prison” of birth to being “Programmed between the contradiction of predestination and the hubris of free,” imagination becomes the way to reconcile life’s painful dis-equilibrium between the aspirations of hope and inevitable concessions to despair. While every leaf may be “a tongue of grief,” “spring revives the beauty of death.”

But like “spiraled genes a Monet has laced,” it is less sadness that draws us to these poems than the osmosis of intelligence and heart that shines through so brilliantly. Like his hero Sisyphus, “step by completed step,” the poet’s revenge is stronger than his rock, giving and vitalizing. Compelled to make art out of “the seeing of doubt” he arrives at cautious hope as “The battered atoms of the heart go on arranging themselves/in the possibility of human love and revolt,” seeking truth “in the light of pretend.”

The Author


Jack Crocker

Jack Crocker is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and professor of English, at Western New Mexico University. He has held various faculty and administrative positions, including at the University of South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University, where he was founding Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Having attended college on basketball and baseball scholarships, he has a B.A. in English from Delta State University, an M.A. in English from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in English from Texas Tech University. His poetry has been widely published in a variety of journals and anthologies. In 2009 the Texas Review Press published a collection—The Last Resort. His latest volume of poems, published by the Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University, in September 2021, is The Algorithm of I. He lives in Silver City, New Mexico with his wife Jodi and two children, Jessi and William.