10/28/09 – Halloween with Jack McCarthy

28 Oct
Jack McCarthy (photo by Andi Burk)

Jack McCarthy

Photo by Andi Burk, D.M.B./Nightfall—->

Put on Your Pirate Hat – Jack McCarthy is coming for Halloween!! Every year we have our annual Halloween bash with costume contest – This year we have a feature as well. And what could be better on Halloween than the consumate storyteller poet!!!!

Jack McCarthy is a working guy from the Boston area who’s been writing poetry since the mid-60s. He’d been averaging about a poem a year until 1992-93, when two things happened. First, his new wife, Carol, blackmailed him into attending a workshop with Galway Kinnell; then he brought his daughter Annie, for her birthday, to the open mike at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square, Cambridge, hoping she’d get excited about poetry. Jack was the one who got hooked. Since then he’s brought out Grace Notes, two chapbooks (Actual Grace Notes and Too Old to Make Excuses (But Still Young Enough to Make Love)), a 60-minute cassette tape (Poems for Hannah), and a CD (Breaking Down Outside a Gas Station). A major book, Say Goodnight, Grace Notes, was released in 2003 by EM Press to rave reviews. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including The Spoken Word Revolution. Among his influences he numbers Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, and Garrison Keillor. He doesn’t think of himself as a “performance poet,” but as a “standup poetry guy,” a writer of poems that perform themselves. — from

I knew a poet who would make
a couple hundred copies of a poem
and stick them in a pouch,
like a mailman
who wrote all the mail himself.

Saturday mornings
he would walk Commonwealth Avenue
from the Public Gardens
all the way to Kenmore Square.
He’d smile at everyone he met,
and offer each a poem.
Most people accepted them.

At Kenmore he would turn
and start back Commonwealth,
conscientious to retrace
the same side of that
gracious boulevard,
and he would reclaim his poems
from the sidewalks and the gutters
where they’d been discarded,
and he would stuff the pieces
back in the pouch.

We watch others go through life
leaving bodies strewn behind
and wonder vaguely
what our own trail looks like.
Bless those brave enough
actually to walk
that backward track.
They walk it for us all.

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Posted by on October 28, 2009 in * A Few Poems, * Past Features



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