Does poetry cease
in a time of peace?

The Iron Curtain falls:
Russians invade shopping malls.

New York fashion models, ah—
don Vietnamese black pajamas.

(From Earth Songs: New & Selected Poems)


Teaching career includes: adjunct professor of journalism, Ramapo College of New Jersey; North Jersey Media Group Journalist in Residence, Rutgers University; adjunct professor of journalism, New York University; adjunct professor of communication arts, St. Thomas Aquinas College; instructor, Rutgers University Citizenship and Service Education program; New Jersey Press Association workshop panelist, Journalism Resources Institute, Rutgers University

Journalism career includes: staff writer, The Record of North Jersey; reporter, Daily Record of Morris County, NJ; columnist, Brooklyn (NY) Today; researcher, CBS News; freelance writer (New York Times, many other publications)

Literary and art career includes: author or editor of more than a dozen books of poetry, prose and photography; co-publisher, 1st Casualty Press and East River Anthology (published poetry and art collections by Vietnam veterans and other contributors); poetry readings at the Asia Society, Boston Public Library, Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival-New Jersey Performing Arts Center, New York Public Theatre, Paterson Museum and many other forums; art work in more than a dozen shows in New Jersey, New York, Washington, DC and Reno, Nevada


B.A., political science, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Attended New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University; also took courses at Troy State College, Alabama; Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey; Hunter College, New York City; Bergen Community College, New Jersey; Rutgers University, New Jersey; plus US Army training at Ft. Jackson, SC, Ft. Benning, GA, Ft. Belvoir, VA, Ft. Rucker, AL

US Military Academy at West Point, NY (resigned)

Graduate, US Military Academy Preparatory School, Virginia

Graduate, Interlaken (NY) Central School

Vietnam, class of ' 63


On Indian Lake, Adironacks, NY August 2015 (Photo/Paula Rogovin)
Jan Barry is a poet, author and journalist. Born Jan Barry Crumb in 1943 in Ithaca, NY, he grew up in a rural village in the Finger Lakes region. As a kid he wanted to be a cowboy with a nickname like "Dusty" and a pen name like Mark Twain, but couldn't come up with anything memorable enough to remember. So hence, Jan Barry.

After graduating from Interlaken Central High School, he attended the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University, but dropped out to join the Army and see the world. Appointed to the U.S. Military Academy after an all-expenses-paid tour of tropical vacation spots and war zones in Vietnam, he resigned from West Point to become a writer and peace activist. A co-founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, his poems on the war appeared in diverse publications, from the Chicago Tribune and New York Times to A People and A Nation: A History of the United States. His poetry first appeared in Winning Hearts and Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans, published by 1st Casualty Press, founded by Jan Barry and fellow veterans Larry Rottmann and Basil T. Paquet. With W.D. Ehrhart, he compiled a sequel, Demilitarized Zones: Veterans After Vietnam. Marshaling writers and artists confronting the threat of nuclear war, he also edited Peace Is Our Profession: Poems and Passages of War Protest.

Three decades after dropping out of school to become a teenage soldier, he graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a degree in political science, much of it studied first-hand in Vietnamese affairs, citizen exchange liaisons in the Soviet Union, and close encounters with every level of government in America. Profiled in Choosing Sides: I Remember Vietnam (Cronkite Productions, 1998), aired on The History Channel, he's presented poetry readings and observations on the tangled web of historic and current events at numerous colleges, high schools, elementary schools and community forums.

He's also featured in the 2011 HBO documentary Mann v. Ford as a lead reporter for the "Toxic Legacy" series published by The Record (Bergen Co., NJ) that revealed the extent of buried industrial contamination and health problems in a primarily Native American community and along water supply streams in New Jersey and New York. In a journalism career that began with a boyhood newspaper route, included a stint at CBS News doing research for radio and televison reports, and spanned four decades of writing for weeklies, dailies and national news publications, he's frequently shared newshound tips at journalists' workshops and other forums and in teaching journalism courses.

Jan Barry is a recipient of several journalism awards, mainly for persistence, including a Community Service Award from the Society of the Silurians, the oldest press club in the United States. He was a member of an investigative project team at The Record that received a Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment; the IRE Medal, the Investigative Reporters and Editors' top award; the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative reporting; and the New Jersey Press Association's public service award.

Facing the prospect of being a card-carrying senior citizen without having expounded on the meaning of life, he's the author of A Citizen's Guide to Grassroots Campaigns, Earth Songs: New & Selected Poems, Life After War & Other Poems, and commentaries posted on Internet web sites. On Memorial Day 2012, he was presented a New Jersey Joint Legislative Resolution for his work with the Combat Paper NJ Project, which was featured on PBS Newshour and other news programs.

Photo/Paula Rogovin

Visiting Taughannock Falls near where I grew up in the Finger lakes region of New York. I attended a two-room country school up the road from the falls in Jacksonville, NY until 4th grade when we moved to a larger village, Interlaken (pop. 700), with a high school.

Selected Works

A tonic spray of poetry, verses that a Vietnam war veteran lives by.
A pragmatic, common-sense handbook for civic action at the community and international levels.