No One Leaves the World Unhurt

Winner of the 2020 Donald Justice Poetry Prize, selected by J. Allyn Rosser

US List Price: $16.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book.

No One Leaves the World Unhurt

Winner of the 2020 Donald Justice Poetry Prize, selected by J. Allyn Rosser

US List Price: $16.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book.

About the Book

John Foy’s newest collection is a tour de force of formal poetry, offering a blend of wit, cleverness, and deftness. Working in the lineage of poets like Billy Collins, Robert Frost, Frank O’Hara, W. H. Auden, and Elizabeth Bishop, Foy probes everyday experiences to generate compassionate, clever, and deeply knowing verse. Foy satirizes various elements of contemporary society, reflecting on war, wandering through the Museum of Sex in New York with his wife, and plucking apart idiomatic speech, which he breaks down, saying “It is what it is. / It’s not what it might have been.” Influenced by pop art and fine art and his New York home, which forms the backdrop of many of these poems, Foy’s vibrant collection is simultaneously philosophical, whimsical, serious, and searching.


Praise for No One Leaves the World Unhurt

Taking aggressive advantage of the imaginative freedom that poetry offers, Foy breaks into some frightening places here, including the brutality of war, the terrors of the future, his own dead body, and the “cracked house of his mind.” This edginess is skillfully balanced by Foy’s formalist aptitudes, with inventive rhyming and sonnet skills on inconspicuous display. Still, the brash energy of the poems prevails. If some of them could drive themselves down Main Street, they would turn a lot of heads.
—Billy Collins, author of The Rain in Portugal

This accomplished and lively collection trains anthropological high-beams on contemporary America’s frequently absurd patterns of thought and behavior. Foy’s poems are by turns witty and affecting: gravity is leavened by playfulness; humorous forays ride on serious undercurrents. Like Robert Frost, Foy can compose traditionally formal poems without losing or even fraying natural thought threads. He also deftly incorporates the lexicon of economics into his meditations on grief, sex, Barbie dolls, and Atlas “shouldering the heavens like a man / with a second mortgage and child support to pay.” At last, here is a voice that tells the truth in such a way that we want to keep on listening.
—J. Allyn Rosser, author of Mimi’s Trapeze

I find two things conspicuously missing in contemporary poetry. One is the quality that Keats called “negative capability,” projecting the self into the minds and hearts of those who are different from the poet, perhaps even uncongenial to him. The other is the old-fashioned “metaphysical” conceit, in which an everyday object becomes a controlling metaphor for the poem, and even the poet’s choice of form becomes the vehicle of meaning. Take it from me; John Foy possesses both.
—R. S. Gwynn, author of No Word of Farewell

John Foy Author Photo

John Foy’s work has been included in the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, The Best of the Raintown Review, and Rabbit Ears: TV Poems. He has published widely in journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, The Hudson Review, The New Criterion, The Village Voice, Parnassus, American Arts Quarterly, Alabama Literary Review, The Dark Horse […]

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