Gordon Jarvie was born in Edinburgh and educated at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Sussex, where he gained an MPhil in 1968. He has worked as a teacher and editor at Purdue University in the USA, as well as for publishers such as Collins and Oxford University Press. In the 1990s, he began to focus more on his poetry, and has since published two collections, Ayrshire Recessional (1998) and Time’s Traverse: Poems 1991–2001 (2002) and several pamphlets. A third collection was published in 2014; the full title is A Man Passing Through: memoir with poems selected and new (London: Greenwich Exchange).
Although most of Jarvie’s poetry is written in English, he has also produced work in Scots. His poems have appeared in Lallans, Poetry Scotland, The Herald, Northwords Now and Scottish Poetry in Translation among others.
More recently, he has collected his work in thematically focused volumes, such as Climber’s Calendar (Loose Scree, 2007), containing his hill poems, and the collection of Breton poetry, La Baudunais (Les Hauts-Fonds, 2009), his Fife poetry in Out and About Poetry Mainly from the East Neuk, Fife (2012), and his Irish poetry in Bessy Bell and Other Irish Intersections (2013).
For the National Museums Scotland, Jarvie edited the ‘Scottie Books’ series with his wife Frances, including Robert Burns in Time and Place (2009) and There Shall Be a Scottish Parliament (2013). Jarvie is also the editor of several poetry anthologies, including The Scottish Reciter (Blackstaff Press, 1993), The Kist Anthology (Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, 1996), and 100 Favourite Scottish Poems to Read Out Loud (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2007).
As well as poetry, he has also written books on language, punctuation and etymology, notably the Bloomsbury Grammar Guide and Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. He lives at Crail, in the East Neuk of Fife.