Barrie Ryan passed away peacefully in Tucson, Arizona on Dec 13, 2023. She was born to William Ryan and Ruth Harnett in New York, NY in 1935. She is survived by her daughter, Annamarie Ryan, grandsons Dustin Ross and Ryan Blake, and numerous beloved friends.
Barrie grounded her life to our desert surroundings and educated others in writing and poetry at the University of Arizona, Pima College, and Greenfields School. Her service to the community and social work was expansive, first at Traveler’s Aid, then the Tucson Aids Project, Primavera, I&R Crisis Line and for many years as a hospice volunteer. She served on the board of the environmental magazine Orion. Her love of the desert, birds, horses, dogs and creeks, produced four books of poetry with one title emblematic of them all: How the World is Given to Us. This was the spiritual ground Barrie explored and delivered in her work. She quotes Odysseas Elytiis in one book for their agreement and alignment: “This is why I write. Because poetry begins where death is robbed of the last word.” We will give Barrie the last word here, from her poem “Field”: At death’s edge, remember the open field, and how something pure arrived, lifting you out.
A celebration of Barrie’s life will be held on March 1st from 1-4pm at The Feast, 3719 E Speedway in Tucson, Arizona.