The trick is not to neglect it just enough
but to deny it just enough.
Decades of managing the stresses
of survival–the exacting balance
of staying alive but only just;
the importance of suffering
to the sublime, against
the inevitable grounds for remorse.
Over the past 30 years John Barr’s poems have been published in five books, four fine press editions, and many magazines, including The New York Times, Poetry, and others. He was also the Inaugural President of the Poetry Foundation. His newest book, The Boxer of Quirinal, will be published by Red Hen Press in June 2023. You can view more of his work at