In 1999, the Phoenix named McCarthy "Best Stand-Up Poet." We wrote:

If you're one of those people who think poetry is for greeting cards and high-school English teachers, Jack McCarthy has some words for you.

"What poetry means in [people's] minds is a long way from what I do," says the 60-year-old Boston native, whose wise, funny pieces, though written in verse, owe as much to Garrison Keillor as they do to Robert Frost. McCarthy, who can be heard most Wednesday nights at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square, has made it a mission of sorts to make poetry more accessible to the masses. . . .

But the real proof of McCarthy's dedication to down-to-earth verse is in his own work, like these lines from his meditation on the '86 World Series, "The Walk of Life": "So we joke, we say,/'Like Bill Buckner, ho ho ho'/fostering the pretense we're too good/for this to happen to us/when what is spectacularly obvious/is that we're not even close to being good enough/ever to be exposed to something this bad/our failures go unnoticed/because we go unnoticed/and we're glad of it."

Call it poetry if you must, but Jack McCarthy's work is too good to go unnoticed.

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