- Practicing Zen Without a License (2011)
- Dreamer (1998)
- Jack’s Skillet: Plain Talk and Some Recipes From a Guy in the Kitchen (1997) Nonfiction
- Living in Little Rock With Miss Little Rock (1993)
- Nightshade (1989)
- Jujitsu for Christ (1986)
- The Kid Who Wanted to be a Spaceman and Other Poems (1984) Poetry
- Hawk Gumbo and Other Stories (1982)
- West of Hollywood (1980) Poetry
by Shemeka Gillespie (SHS) 1999
Jack Butler is a man whose name says it all. He is what some people would call a Jack-of-all-trades. He has done, experienced, and created many things. He has worked as a bread-company route man, statistical analyst, fried pie man, writer-in-residence, Baptist preacher, and an assistant dean at Hendrix College in Arkansas. He is an excellent cook, poet, and novelist. He taught creative writing at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico (Crowder) and retired in 2004.
Jack Butler was born in Alligator, Mississippi, in 1944. He earned a degree from Mississippi College at Clinton in 1965 prior to attending Central Missouri State College. He earned two degrees, one in English and one in math, a B.A. and a B.S. He worked as a Baptist preacher in Missouri, but he left Missouri in 1968 to continue his education in Arkansas. He attended the University of Arkansas and earned his M.F.A. in creative writing. He then became the assistant dean at Hendrix College. (Crowder)
Jack Butler has written many books and some of his best books are Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock, The Dreamer, and Jujitsu for Christ. Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock has sparked the attention of readers all over the nation. The book was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. If a person doesn’t necessarily like the novel, he/she may like some of his other works. His novel, Dreamers, is a totally different novel from Living in Little Rock With Miss Little Rock. Dreamers contains a vampire and other scenes that can make the reader’s hair stand on end. He has a writing style that can catch the attention of different readers of all ages.
Although Jack Butler writes novels, he also writes poetry and paints pictures. In addition, Jack Butler recently published a cookbook that is good for the body and soul entitled, Jack’s Skillet: Plain Talk and Some Recipes From a Guy in the Kitchen. Jack Butler now continues his life in New Mexico.
Butler held the position of co-director of the Creative Writing Program and Full Professor of Creative Writing at the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but he retired in 2004 for health reasons and moved to Wyandotte, Oklahoma. He has since moved to California.
- 1944-Jack Butler was born in Alligator, Mississippi.
- 1964-1968-He attended his first years of college at Central Missouri State College. He earned his English and math degrees (B.A. and B.S.). He worked as a Baptist preacher.
- 1968-He left Missouri to continue his education in Arkansas.
- 1980-He wrote West of Hollywood.
- 1982-He wrote Hawk Gumbo and Other Stories.
- 1986-He wrote Jujitsu for Christ.
- 1989-He wrote Nightshade.
- 1993-He wrote Living in Little Rock With Miss Little Rock, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and he served as the assistant dean at Hendrix College.
- 1997-He wrote his first cookbook called Jack’s Skillet: Plain Talk and Some Recipes From a Guy in the Kitchen.
- 1998-He wrote the novel called Dreamers..
- 1999-He served as the co-director of the Creative Writing Program and Associate Professor of Creative Writing at The College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- 2004–Retired and moved to Oklahoma.
- 2010–Lives in California.
by Shemeka Gillespie (SHS)
This poem is not written in the normal poetry style because it seems to be a story that is broken up into fragments. The poem tells about Jack Butler’s life, hopes, and dreams. He tells how he wanted to become a spaceman, scientist, and how he is a true poet. He describes his radio that he listened to and the program that inspired him to become a spaceman. He was so serious about his goal of becoming a spaceman that he drew plans for his future rocket, started clubs for people who wanted to go to the moon with him, and came up with ideas on where to get money from to fund his adventure. In the end none of it happened.
In this poem Jack Butler also tells about when he first became a Christian. He was six years old. During a revival service he stood up to ask if they were having the altar call and the preacher thought he was coming to the altar, so he became a Christian by accident. He also describes the church as a shotgun shack made of weathered rough-cut lumber located in a cotton field.
When he was in the fourth grade, he started to think he was going to be a scientist because he created a Tyrannosaurus Rex that was brown on the outside; but when it was transected, it was different colors on the inside. He soon started to pull away from science because he said it didn’t mean much to him. After he left science, he was drawn to poetry, and he found his true hope in poetry.
- Jack Butler’s website
- Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture online includes biography of Jack Armand Butler..
- More reviews of the Dreamers can be found here.
- Online “snippet” from Jack Butler’s poem The Kid Who Wanted to Be a Spaceman from Syntax of Things.
- Online poems of Butler’s on Hypertexts.
- Abbot, Dorothy, ed. “Contributors.” Mississippi Writers Reflections of Childhood and Youth. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1988. 387.
- Cox, James L. “Profiles of Famous and Notable Mississippians.” Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998. Yazoo City, Ms: Computer Search and Research, 1997. 114.
- Crowder, Ashby Bland. “Jack Butler: Poetry and Life, an Interview.” Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Culture. Volume XLVI, No. 1 (Winter 1992-93): 3-21.
- Shirley, Aleda, Susan M. Glisson, and Ann J. Abadie, eds. “Other Writers of Interest.” Mississippi Writers: Directory and Literary Guide. University, MS: The Center for the Study of Southern Culture, 1995. 47.