Barefoot is Kevin Hart’s eighth collection of poems; it is rich in elegies, meditations on lost love, and celebrations of new love. The title speaks of mourning, pilgrimage, and the direct sensuous contact of flesh with earth.
Harold Bloom has long extolled Hart as a “visionary of desire,” and in this collection we find that vision deepened and that desire extended. Never before has Hart stretched his range of inspiration quite so far; while continuing to draw from Christianity, he also responds to the rich heritage of American Blues, and reveals a wit as sharp as a razor’s edge.
The poetry is at once religious poetry and love poetry; indeed, the “religious poetry” is itself love poetry. Always, Hart speaks to us in words that seem inevitable in their simplicity. As he himself has written, “The best conductor of mystery is clarity. The true bearer of complexity is simplicity.” Barefoot will delight poetry lovers everywhere.
“Kevin Hart’s Barefoot is a magnificent book. Hart’s poetry has always been marked by a tenderness and sensuality and an openness to existence, and it remains so here, but that openness now extends to the negative aspects of existence, which make the book both exhilarating and harrowing. I think that Barefoot is one of Kevin Hart’s finest achievements.” — John Koethe, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
“One of the finest poets now writing in English, Kevin Hart beautifully and indelibly surveys the human position—not only our body-life in time, but also our apprehensions of what lies beyond us. The title of his marvelous new collection, Barefoot, perfectly expresses its openness, freedom, power, and delight.” — David Mason, author of The Sound: New and Selected Poems
“One of the strengths of this book is Hart’s penetrating lucidity and his passionate ideas. He is a master craftsman with a visionary imagination and these are his finest poems.” — Robert Adamson, CAL Chair in Poetry, University of Technology Sydney
“In Kevin Hart’s eighth book of poetry, he uses poetry to talk to the absent or, rather, the ambiguously present: his late father, God, past lovers, and versions of himself. . . . Like many mystics before him, Hart often speaks of the divine in erotic terms.” — World Literature Today
“When I read Kevin Hart, I feel less alone, which is to say that I feel that someone understands my own desire to be alone. I feel a companion spirit, out there wandering barefoot in the darkness, looking for God. But this does not mean that the experience is entirely comforting; this is not some faux-poetry of greeting-card consolation.” — Marginalia