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RIP Jack McCarthy. Unsung hero of modern poetry.
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21546
RIP Jack McCarthy. Unsung hero of modern poetry.  Reply with quote  



A lot of people I know and respect have always held Jack McCarthy in high regard. For good reason. B. Dolan, Jared and myself have all been influenced and touched by this man and his work. I was honored to meet him early on during my time in the New England poetry scene. There's no flashiness to what he does. He's just a powerful and beautiful being. He had been in hospice care over the past few months due to health issues, and on January 17, 2013 and he passed away. He left us with these words:

It hurts
when love dies.
When love is deep,
it hurts deeply—
more deeply maybe than you thought
anything would ever hurt
again.

But with time,
the spaces between the moments when it hurts
get longer,
the moments themselves become
less devastating,
till eventually you come to associate them
with a sad sweetness
that has as much in common
with love
as it does with grief.

I wish you long
spaces in between,
and may you carry into them
all of that sweetness,
and only enough sadness to attest
the risk that’s being taken
by everyone who loves you.
Post Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:43 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8525
Location: Third Coast
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The best part of that poem is that is starts off like a million other poems but by the end you're like "Holy fuck!"

I also ripped this straight off the man's webpage, since I think it probably sums his style up better than anything else: "He reminds me of a drunken man in a bar full of snobs, who for some inexplicable reason is always right."—Sam Szabo, grade 7, Rupert A. Nock Middle School, Newburyport, MA

I don't need to get into to the details, but your post kind of makes it sound like McCarthy chose to end his own life. Maybe that's the case, but otherwise it's kind of misleading.
Post Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:28 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21546
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I believe he had emphysema and it seemed like death had been knocking on his door for the past year or so. He seemed to be at peace with it in all of his accounts of what was happening. Here's the last update he made on his website:
http://www.standupoet.net/news.htm

I certainly didn't mean to make it seem like he killed himself. I just didn't want to present this news as if this was a sudden, violent, unexpected passing. He tells us to go gentle with ourselves. I imagine he left this world gently. Not sure how else to state it, but I should fix that if it gives the impression that he took his own life.
Post Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:19 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8525
Location: Third Coast
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Gotcha. I took "he left us with these words" as "this is basically his suicide note." I somehow didn't account for the possibility of a slow illness, which was my mistake. Either way, I'm now interested in the man's work, so that's good.
Post Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:34 pm
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DeadAwake



Joined: 17 Feb 2007
Posts: 566
Location: Aus.
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Thank you for sharing.

Undoubtedly, this man was a genuine being. Which is a marvel in this world of inauthenticity, and to me, the true mark of success.

Let the passing of his plantery body serve, whomever so wishes, as a reminder of our own bodies ephemeral transcience.

May his essence be.
Post Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:03 pm
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erich



Joined: 15 May 2005
Posts: 3048
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I got to see him at his book release in Seattle last year and it was truly special. One time I was on tour and was kinda high and dry in Bellingham and he just made some calls and took care of me.

It also meant a lot to me as a young writer that he was just a regular guy from inside the city of Boston who had no connection to the academic world and was really successful despite that, not to mention how his personal relationship to addiction, Catholicism, etc. all reaffirmed my whole sense of self. so glad for the example Jack set.
Post Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:40 pm
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SPillogical



Joined: 24 Aug 2002
Posts: 166
Location: Denver, CO
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I first got to meet Jack on my second poetry tour, in Bellingham. I, of course, already knew of him and his amazing work. I was flabbergasted when he came up to me after my set and said he wanted to buy one of everything I had, which led to an hour long conversation about life, poetry/craft, and the ways we both handled addiction(him through the program, me on my own). He was at my Seattle feature a couple nights later. We had another good lengthy conversation. I still cherish both those conversations and everyone we had at NPS or whenever our paths would cross. A kind, decent, wonderful man all the way around.
Post Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:19 pm
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