The poems of Kevin Hart have nurtured international poetry audiences for nearly four decades. Translations of Hart’s work have appeared in Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Vietnamese, among other languages, and bear witness to the growing interest in Hart’s poetry both in the United States and abroad. This volume performs a valuable service by bringing together the best of Hart’s work from seven published collections, some of them now out of print, and from his forthcoming book, Barefoot. It allows us to take the measure of his art: the careful balance Hart achieves between mystery and the real, a balance that is spiritual yet visceral, learned yet passionate; and his ability to meld redemption and hope, “always present, whether in the simple pleasures and small dignities of life or the larger questionings and confrontations of death” .
Wild Track reveals a poet capable of articulating genuine feeling and considerable philosophical depth. This volume confirms Hart’s standing as one of the most sophisticated poets writing today.
“Pondus meum amor meus —my weight is my love, writes Augustine, as he describes how love carries him wherever it will. The ‘wild track’ of Kevin Hart’s new and selected poems seems akin to Augustine’s path; it is a collection deeply pondered, yet as lightly formed as a new leaf curved by wind. He writes of ‘a name within a name’ and of ‘a darkness in the dark’ while everywhere the reader finds the life inside the life. His is a poetry of the ‘should have said’—clear-eyed thoughts set to music, speakable only when fear has vanished, set forth without nostalgia or regret." — Susan Stewart
“This splendid selection contains Kevin Hart’s finest poetry. From the ‘Ten Thousand Things’ that calm the mind to the double loss of Eurydice we encounter the symbolism of ‘Dark Bird,’ where it becomes frightening to learn that ‘finches are in blossom’ either in a poem or a world. Hart’s penetrating lucidity is dense with passionate knowledge, the lovely series of new poems entitled ‘Sugar’ are so lyrical you catch your breath when a sharp edge appears to cut away any sign of sentimentality. Hart is a master craftsman, he needs to be, so that his visionary imagination doesn’t brim over—he travels along a wild track to enter the calm recording-time, so the reader’s mind can ‘move upon silence.’ A great poet of the intellect but touched by his knowledge of love and the possibility, these days, of the soul.” — Robert Adamson, author of Net Needle
“Kevin Hart’s poetry is lucid and accessible while giving voice to rich depths where mystery and being coalesce. It approaches the unapproachable, the impossible borders of experience, through praise and song, and sets the everyday experience of the real world in close proximity to a deeper world of spirit.” — Michael Brennan, author of The Imageless World
“Hart’s relationship with the initial singularity that has driven so much of his best work, the ‘space between two thoughts,’ the ‘silence older than the sky,’ the darkness ‘before God spoke a word,’ is quite obviously, and inexorably, changing. At times it feels as if he has been caught between masks in this process but nevertheless, in the heart-rending Lullaby to his stillborn sister that comes late in Wild Track, we are left in no doubt that the poetic power within him still moves.” — The Australian
“The point of Hart’s poetry, it seems, is to speak from the heart about the objects of his contemplation: poetic myth, philosophic ideas, loved ones both living and deceased and love of the Father. . . . What is most striking about Hart’s world is the chaos of angels, nature, people, ghosts and home-made rats all jostling for attention in Hart’s gaze or heart which is otherwise turned to God.” — The Lake
“Although [Kevin Hart] has won extravagant praise from Americans such as Charles Simić and Harold Bloom, he remains, to Australian readers, an Australian poet. This ‘new and selected’ from a university where he once taught is a convenient way to familiarise, or refamilarise, oneself with the nature and range of his achievement so far.” — Australian Book Review
“Hart’s contemplative mien, his unabashed candor about the Godhead, his conflation of the sacred and secular, his attention to the seamless Benedictine synthesis of spirit and body, brings to mind Thomas Merton and his mystical temperament, though Hart shares much, as well, with Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder, especially their more accessible gaits, the lean, modest, immaculate lines, their devotion and devotionals to the natural world. Blake lurks in these gorgeous lines as well.” — Anglican Theological Review