Radiant Action

Matt Hart. H_ngm_n (SPD, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (164p) ISBN 978-0-9903082-9-4
Hart (Debacle Debacle), editor of the journal Forklift, Ohio, celebrates art’s life-altering capacity in an exuberant sixth effort set against the scenic backdrop of his family’s vacation home on Lake Michigan. Alive with “the engine of beauty, the roar of the sublime,” Hart captures his surroundings vividly and imaginatively. The distant hills are “a pride of green lions,” a bird is “weightless with wormwooded feeling,” and the horizon is aglow with “the sun dipping its/ face in the water.” Hart expresses his relentless tenderness, his “dumb green/ heart,” through his care for his family, the desire to protect his daughter, and his hope for a holy communion through language: “The world is less cruel when we fall,/ fall together.” While this wild pulse beats beneath Hart’s ode, there is an aesthetic thesis at work. Referencing Guillaume Apollinaire, Etheridge Knight, Plato, and Walt Whitman, he asserts that “The limits of your language are the limits/ of your soul,” and these limits should be examined, tested, pushed, even obliterated, as a moral obligation. We must be “monstrous” in our poetic appetites, our language “noisy with god.” The book suffers a bit for its length, and Hart’s dogged optimism leaves little room for nuance, but his “sunny excess” will be refreshing to anyone seeking refuge from the world’s bleakness. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2016
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