Kenneth Hart
January 2010


Kennth HartKenneth Hart received an MFA from Warren Wilson College in 1998. He teaches writing at New York University, works in the family roofing business, and gives readings and workshops for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. His poems have been published in Arts & Letters, North American Review, Mississippi Review, Barrow Street, The Bellingham Review, Paterson Literary Review, and Poet Lore, and his book reviews appear regularly in Journal of New Jersey Poets. He is the 2007 co-winner of the Allen Ginsberg Award, and the recipient of the 2008 editor's prize for New Ohio Review. His poem "Keep America Beautiful" was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac  in 2009. He lives in Long Valley, NJ, and spends his summers in Alaska.  Hart's manuscript Uh Oh Time was selected by Mark Jarman as winner of the 2007 Anhinga Prize for Poetry.

Poetics Statement

I'm particularly interested in narrated meditations, where an event meets a psyche that wishes to make sense of it, revel in it, and/or argue with it—so that a tension may yield some important insight, an insight that isn't stated baldly, necessarily, but revealed through image, scene, action, and emotion.

Often I'm attracted to the difficult or uncomfortable moments in a life, and in the culture, that manifest on a human scale, such as where sex, politics (and sexual politics), race, work, religion, etc., engage and collide with the psyche's vocabulary of loss, love, fear, honesty, and humor . . . all in defense of, and as anthem to, the emotional life.

Using a self that is sometimes called "I," I write in straightforward language. Since, as I see it, my subjects engage with difficulty, I want my language to be clear—with leaps of word, image or syntax from time to time so that my poems are not too bare and stripped down.

I'm attracted to the essayistic more than the lyric—argument, analysis, interpretation—more than pure song, though rhythm, cadence, sound, and the lyric's way of accessing emotion are very important to me.

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