Excerpt from an interview with John Wall Barger...
Q: How did you first get the idea for the title Pain-Proof Men?
John: I’ve been obsessed for years with carnival culture, and at one point I wanted my first book to be all about circuses. A pain-proof man is, of course, a performer in a sideshow who stabs himself with pins and needles, as a little mob looks on. I liked this as a metaphor for the artist. Most of the circus poems fell away from the manuscript, and the idea expanded to pain in general. I don’t think suffering is just ours. We all know its texture, its smell. So it’s a potential point of connection with others. Heartbreak, in balance, leads to empathy.
Read the entire interview at the link below.