University of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris was having trouble standing on his own after a major sack. The coach kept him in the game.
It wasn’t his four full-length poetry collections that put Jack McCarthy’s name on the poetic map. It was the poetry slam.
Usually the province of the young, the edgy, the angry, McCarthy stood out.
He was in his mid-fifties when he first gave it a try, and his poems were funny, they were poignant, they were gentle. And by all accounts, they were winners.
As one young poet once told another at a Slam, “This guy’s a legend, he’s going to clean the floor with us.”
For 20 years, McCarthy was an unassuming yet powerful force in the slam scene.
He died last week, after a battle with cancer. We talk to his friend and fellow poet, Michael Brown, about McCarthy’s life and work.