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Matt Hart

Matt Hart was born in Evansville, Indiana in 1969. He earned an MFA in Poetry from The Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. He is the author of Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless, Who's Who Vivid, Wolf Face, and Light-Headed.


"Welcome to Matt Hart territory, a strange, at times bewildering, often brilliant expanse . . . that fills these poems to bursting."

– Paul Violi

"Matt Hart is purely and powerfully a singer of connection — its possibility, necessity — a poet of incessant drive and tenderness who is wise enough to limit his perspective to everything."

– Bob Hicok

"A record of what it is like to be alive in this world. It is particular to one man, and his dog, his wife, his daughter, his friends, and a little house in Cincinnati in this century, and in being so faithful to the details of an individual existence, in sounding in minor keys, it is able to resonate in major ones. . . . Matt Hart persists into wonderment."

– Darcie Dennigan



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Featured Book

Wolf Face

What it is like to be alive in this world.


Whoa. So here we are, human beings. “Sing it, We are human beings.” We are lying, cannibalistic husbands and wives. Wolf Face howls the hard truth into us, and then invites us into a home to care for a crying baby. “Bathing in purple, we are bathing in O. / The violets are brewing,” and if you don’t already know, you missed a hell of a book in 2010.

As a poet hanging out with poets in the real world, I’ve come to know “meaning” as a bit of a problem word. A blurb from Darcie Dennigan on the back of Wolf Face says that this “record of what it is like to be alive in this world” is “particular to one man.” That’s probably true, but I think that this is a book about Matt Hart living with Matt Hart in the real world. Which is to say, this book is about a universal experience.

Looking for meaning in these pages, a reader runs the risk of running into a wallpaper wall. Things are what they say, until they give way to something more expansive. Hart writes: “It isn’t necessary that life seem meaningful at every turn, / only that it mean something in the face of you.” Wolf Face is filled to the brim with things that “mean” for Matt Hart. We visit the poet when he is thirty-nine, thirty-six, when he’s married and when he’s meeting his wife. We visit him when he’s paying a mortgage and when he’s renting 434 Grad Avenue, Apt. 4 in Brooklyn. We see him pulling on a few very different faces, each entirely genuine.

The handsome cover design invites us into a very personal space right off the bat. Right at the bottom, plain as day, Hart displays four lines of a type-written draft of the titular poem, pen-marked, scribbled-out, and re-written. “Alive with a terror that blends in the snow” is re-molded into “Alive with an error that shakes in the snow,” the line that appears in the book. More terrifying than “terror,” the revision speaks to the way that these poems mean.

Wolf Face has a remarkable range, evidenced by titles like “Matt Hart Running with Daisy, His Dog” and “I Gave Away the Sky,” each magnificently different in scope and plausibility. But we’re not just reading from one Matt Hart, either. He’s thirty-six and thirty-nine. He wears a “Wolf Face” and an “Electron Face.” All of this is to say that the scope of plausibility in this book transcends the routine, the memory and the domestic by inhabiting those spaces wildly. The book transcends the wild by being it, by carrying on an honestly primal existence through meticulously-constructed poems that rage while they calm, and vice-versa.

This is a hell of a book. You have to turn it sideways to read it. No joke. But when you do, you’ll figure out that coming at things sideways is the best way to get to the genuine. Let this book eat you — you’ll survive. You’re human.

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