Jack McCarthy – Poet 1939-2013

January 24, 2013

One of our finest poets died in his sleep with his wife Carol by his side last Thursday (January 17, 2013). He had been battling cancer and respiratory ailments for more than a year.

Jack was a much admired, respected poet. He was also a friend and finding the right words is particularly difficult for me. I was certainly blessed with spending some time with him the last few weeks of his life.

The number of acquaintances and friends who are sharing remembrances of Jack increase every day. He was so loved, admired and respected and touched many lives.

My review of his 2012 What I Saw collection of Poetry was published at the Rattle Magazine website last November and you can link to it here:

What I Saw by Jack McCarthy–review

There are several memorial services in MA., WA, and CA.,  being planned in honor of Jack.  More information about them is right here:

Memorial Service Information

Here are a few of the many tributes and obituaries for Jack you may want to read:

Remembering Jack McCarthy

Far Field: Jack McCarthy

His Facebook page

by Jack McCarthy
for Helen

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

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 will not say
Don’t grieve for me—
do I look like Saint Francis?

But I wish you long
spaces 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.
Every time we love we’re saying,
Let it ride
and what’s on the table
is the rent money.

And every time we stride again
out into the crisp desert night
our fists shoved deep into empty pockets
we know ourselves for losers.

But, Jesus,
what brave losers we are.
I wish you this too,
for the spaces in between,
this bravery.

Hear Jack Read his poem Victory:

Victory by Jack McCarthy (bottom of page click to listen)

(Note: Yes you may share, link to this blog page.)




  1. How sad to lose such talent!

  2. […] following the afternoon readings. In between will be a reading in memory of beloved Washington poet Jack McCarthy, who passed away earlier this […]

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