Formerly the lead vocalist for LOOKOUT! Records band Squirtgun, currently apart of the band NEVERNEW, as well the serving editor-in-chief of “Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, & Light Industrial Safety”, the multi-faceted poet Matt Hart was gracious enough to share some of his latest musings with the Greensboro community on Nov. 14 at Scuppernong Books.
After preparatory introductions and short poetry readings from the talented faculty of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Hart moved to where he could become the focal point of the large crowd’s anticipatory gaze.
“The poems in this book oscillate back and forth between things that are breaking forever and things that are breaking for the better and very often, they’re doing both simultaneously,”Matt Hart
Reading from his latest book of poems, “Everything Breaking / For Good”, Hart’s writings prove to explore the ever-increasing, ever-magnifying yearnings for something more.
“The poems in this book oscillate back and forth between things that are breaking forever and things that are breaking for the better and very often, they’re doing both simultaneously,” said Hart.
Tinging his “apocalyptic” styled writings with bits of comic relief, Hart explained his first reading,
“Everybody knows who Johnny Cash is? And Joe Strummer, head singer for The Clash? Before they died, Rick Rubin brought them together in the studio…to record a duet of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, which on paper sounds like it would be the most amazing thing in the world. But it’s terrible. It’s actually one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. But I love the idea of Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer being together, so I just decided to make them one person,” he said.
Thus Hart read aloud ‘Johnny Cash Joe Strummer’ to a briefly very cheery crowd that found themselves once again questioning lightheartedness by the poem’s end.
He concluded his readings of “Everything Breaking / For Good” with the poem ‘Radiant Action,’ a phrase Hart claims is directly inspired by Charlotte’s Web. Though the content of the poem itself could be argued to be superficially quite different than its source of inspiration.
Hart’s work is featured in “The Academy of American Poets” online, “Big Bell”, “Harvard Review”, “Jam Tarts Magazine”, “POETRY”, “Lungfull!” and “jubilat”, among others. He has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, along with a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation.
Hart presently resides in Cincinnati serving as Associate Professor in Creative Writing and the Chair of Liberal Arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.