Ron McFarland -- poet, writer, critic, and scholar -- was born in Bellaire, Ohio, but moved with his family to Florida after the second grade. He stayed there through high school, graduating in 1960. Upon graduating, McFarland worked at the Cocoa Public Library and attended junior college at Brevard; after becoming involved with the student newspaper there, he decided to pursue a writing career.
McFarland earned his bachelor's degree in English in 1963 and his master's degree in 1965 from Florida State University; he also served as a teaching assistant while there. McFarland accepted a teaching position at a college in Texas, and married Elsie Watson in 1966. One year later, the newlyweds moved to Illinois, where McFarland "took (his) doctorate" at the University of Illinois.
By 1970, McFarland had signed on as an English Professor at the University of Idaho; in 1997, he also became the university's Director of Creative Writing. He continues to teach at the University today, offering courses such as: "17th century poetry and prose, modern poetry, contemporary Northwest writers, Hemingway seminars, and creative writing." He also serves as faculty advisor to the university's literary magazine and to their soccer club.
In 1984, McFarland "served as Idaho's first State Writer-in-Residence." And in 1985 and 1986, he lived in Athens, Ohio and was an exchange professor at Ohio University.
He has published numerous books; written over six hundred poems; edited many poetry and critical anthologies; contributed to over sixty professional journals; written more than thirty book reviews, thirty essays, and fifty short stories; and has contributed a number of entries for Masterplots, a reference resource series for librarians that is usually called the "Magill books." McFarland has also served as a visiting scholar at various universities and teaches writers' workshops.
McFarland feels he doesn't write as an intellectual pursuit, but to reflect life with its humor and foibles. He enjoys traveling to read his work to people who may not necessarily be academics, having presented at over 50 "Poets in Person" programs. "I want them to recognize that poetry can be fun and that it doesn't have to be arcane or esoteric or difficult to be good." McFarland has given readings in ten states, but, oddly, that list does not include Ohio.
Though "poet" is merely one of the many hats he wears, McFarland identifies with that genre of writers, who are so quickly overlooked in today's world. "Poetry in the United States, despite the wishful thinking of some proponents of the genre, has never drawn the adherents that have been attracted by prose."
McFarland has three adult children -- Kimberly, Jen, and Jon -- and enjoys soccer, fly-fishing, bird hunting, and fantasy football.
Photos courtesy of Georgia Tiffany.