Jack Hart lives on a small farm in southern Ohio, and is a professor of English at the University of Rio Grande in Ohio. He is a playwright and poet, and the author of three books of poetry. He helps to edit Ship of Fools magazine, a small poetry magazine with an irregular circulation that has a preference for poetry “that is terse, economical, and lyrical.” He also helps to edit the Meadhall website, an exploration of the heroic view of the world, and of a heightened sense of reality. It is an elaborate and extensive site devoted to myth, fantasy, medieval romance and the ancient Norse religion of Asatru. It also promotes his collaborative novel, Mythosphere: A Novel, the culmination of an interest in science fiction fantasy that began in his childhood with the discovery of a neighbor’s complete, hardbound collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. He curates the site with his wife and co-author of Mythosphere: A Novel, Catherine Grosvenor.
Some poets are mysterious, more by default than by design. I first came across the poetry of Jack Hart when I Googled “brief poems and epigrams”. That led me to a page which contained the complete text of a poetry book called One Eye Upon the Queen. Jack Hart was modest about his book of over 100 brief poems: “though I still think well of most of them, a few seem immature, self-indulgent, or simply not very good. It’s not that I was so young; I was simply a slow developer.” When I went on Amazon to find out more, I discovered that a Jack Hart was the author of gay sex manuals. This was obviously not the poet; although there is an amusing, almost-classical foot-fetish at work in some of in the poems. There was, also, another Jack Hart who wrote writing guides. This seemed more promising; but he turned out to be a well-known journalist from Oregan. No books by a poet called Jack Hart appeared on Amazon, so I returned to Google. Eventually I tracked down some biographical information on the Third Millennium Publishing site. I also found some more poems by him on the Odins Gift site, a portal for Norse mythology and Asatru poetry and music. I am afraid this work left me cold. And that was all I could discover. However, the early brief poems and epigrams (which include translations of Martial and Sappho) are worth more than a passing glance and I have selected more than a dozen that I enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them as well.
Brief Poems by Jack Hart
MAXINE AT A PARTY
You make a brightness where you walk
That lights a room and stills the talk.
It rains, the clouds are grey and low,
The pear tree’s petals fall like snow.
Unwanted puppies of the mind,
I’ll drown them all, unformed and blind.
AMONG BLACK HOLES
What nightmare hybrids walk behind
The zodiac of stars gone blind.
Why does this place so take my breath?–
Is it the smell of love and death?
A HEAVY WOMAN
The screen of flesh does not conceal
Her small, and finely scalloped heel.
Her eyes are strange,
But strangely fine,
Green apple hard,
LONG BROWN HAIR
Strange that such a liquid medium could
Possess the gloss and grain of polished wood.
WAITING AT THE WINDOW
The glass has clouded and grown clear
So many times, and you, not here.
ON A POEM
These lines have cost me seven hours,
Yet you’d rather I had sent you flowers.
IN CERTAIN SHADOWS
Choose carefully what you stand beside–
In certain shadows, shadows hide.
HUNTING FOR SHORT POEMS
No more big game–now fleet, elusive things
Draw me, small forms with feet as light as wings.
Cold weather comes, and geese are on the wing;
Their shadow passes like the hopes of spring.
Here lies Jack Hart, and they’ll say what done
Him in was liquor and Harley-Davidson.