A Glimpse Inside Iron’s Keeping: A Story In Poems By A Vietnam Veteran

April 18, 2024

I’m pleased to offer a glimpse inside my new ebook, Iron’s Keeping, which tells the story — in poems — of my experience as a former U.S. Naval officer serving in Vietnam. It’s free to download for my newsletter subscribers. The ebook contains 13 poems first published, beautifully, in a private letterpress edition by Carol Blinn at Warwick Press […]

John Barr named to the Longlist for the 2024 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection

April 10, 2024

John Barr was named to the long list of candidates identified as potential recipients of the 2024 PEN/Voelcker Award for a Poetry Collection. John Barr was cited for The Boxer of Quirinal, published by Red Hen Press. The award is designated for a poet “whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.” “I’m overjoyed […]

The Citizen at the End of the World, Part 2

March 27, 2024
A photo of Robert Frost

At the outset of my remarks I said that I would look more broadly at the subject of poetry and responsibility. For me, that starts with the question of poetry and personal responsibility, then moves to poetry and civic, or public, responsibility.

The Citizen at the End of the World, Part 1

March 6, 2024
Protestors holding signs. One sign reads "ENOUGH."

When we think of poets and their public speech today, we are likely to think of poetry as protest.

Sarah Lindsay: An Appreciation

February 22, 2024
Two white people holding hands. The woman, to the left, is wearing regalia associated with a graduation; the man to the left is wearing a collared button down with a navy suit over it.

What a moment it is, to find a poet whose work is unlike any other, and is so good that we pray the poetry gods will keep her safe and warm and grant her a long life of writing such poems for us. For me that moment was when I read her poems in Poetry magazine years ago.

Radios, Flying Machines, and Cinema

February 13, 2024
A stack of radios

In a letter written in April 1922 the poet Hart Crane posed a question to a friend: “Will radios, flying machines, and cinemas have such a great effect on poetry in the end?”

On Language and Dictionaries

January 24, 2024

The first law of language is that there are no laws of language. The laws of language are not the laws of the dictionary.

Eight Minutes Out

January 10, 2024

Just as Emily Dickinson wrote, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” I hope that this poem takes the top of your head off — metaphorically, of course!

How I Write, Part 2

December 8, 2023
Three books on a table

How a poet writes poems: To repeat the phrase from Hemingway, it’s always the same and always different. In the fall of 1988, driving home from Vermont, I learned just how different. After 20 years of writing (or learning to write) poems in conventional lyric forms, an unknown voice in my head spoke a line […]

How I Write, Part 1

November 29, 2023
Papers with a pen

About making love Hemingway said, “It’s always the same but always different.” Poets might say the same about how they write.

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As a welcome gift, I’ll send you my free, digital version of my latest poetry collection, Iron’s Keeping on signup.

Iron’s Keeping is a story in poems that tells of my coming of age as a U.S. Navy officer by going to sea in a voyage that took me around the world. It is of the few published collections of poems about the Naval experience in the Vietnam War.