Fossil and Wing by Jason Barry


Fossil & Wing, Jason Barry’s award-winning chapbook of lyric poetry, is loosely structured around the themes of memory and forgetting, love and loss, and the challenges of conceptualizing and articulating what it means to be human. In their sustained attention to sound and image, these well-crafted, emotionally resonant poems explore not only the nature of perception and our engagement with the natural world, but also the—often fraught—relations we have with family members, romantic partners, and the narratives that give meaning to our lives. With a restrained elegance, the poems in Fossil & Wing stand as a poignant testament to the transformative and revitalizing power of poetry.

Category: Tag:


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 54
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: November  2023
  • ISBN  978-1-953252-92-0


The paired nouns of Jason Barry’s title Fossil & Wing evoke persistence and flight, death and elevation. Like William Blake, Barry has the gift of thinking in images and opposites, realized in human predicaments—but here, images as vividly contemporary as the “steam stick” on a bathroom window after a shower, or the weeds on a train track: emblems in a terrain of losses and reflections. — Robert Pinsky

There is a subtle clarity of voice in these poems—the way they create and hold space for the unspoken emotion, the feeling we may not even quite realize that we have. At their best, the poems in Fossil & Wing use all the skills of poetry—exemplary skill with meter and its often ingenious structuring of formal poetic elements—to create a safe space in which to become more human. — Annie Finch

The sonic and visual precision in Jason Barry’s Fossil & Wing makes for startling discoveries: “a crush of brittle leaves beneath the stride/and how at certain times, the wind would/shape the fumes into a fox behind our truck/” (“Pruning”). What flies or escapes, winged, of the fossil rock of memory, “glazed fresh or drawn in rubato light” (“Tracks”) is as gorgeous as it is unexpected, I am reminded of Dickinson and Stevens, and an expansive reticence in the lyric tradition which Barry’s gifts continue. — Adrianne Kalfopoulou

What is remarkable in Jason Barry’s poems is their powerful focus on the details of individual experience, often captured as a tension between tender lyricism and emotional violence, between a certain formal and tonal discretion and a perfect knowledge of the world’s cruelty. “Sensory is synonym for soul,” he declares, and the work in Fossil & Wing confirms this formula at every turn. — Karl Kirchwey


Together Still

Imagine now that we could still be friends,
that I could take back everything I said,
the awkward gesture, the mistimed amends,
that I’d been cautious when I went ahead.
We’d meet on weekends, take the kids to walk
along the river, enjoy the breeze and view.
(Our wives would lag behind so they could talk).
I’d try to keep myself from watching you,
your torso lovely, the way you would stand
beside the water when we were away.
I’d tell myself to not reach for your hand
or say the things I said that other day.
The lives we now have would not then exist
if I had stopped when you tried to resist.


Jason BarryJason Barry holds an MFA from Boston University and is pursuing further studies at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, 32 Poems, The Cortland Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Crab Creek Review, Bad Lilies, Poet Lore, Thrush Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and other awards and his poetry was selected by Ada Limón to feature on The Slowdown. He has been offered artist scholarships and grants from Poetry by the Sea, Boston University, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Additional information

Weight 4.1 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in