Throughout this challenging collection light, voices,
disturbances, saints and angels sprawl, and in hidden places we suddenly come
across darkness and shattering, broken beings.
In previous collections we have come to associate Hart's writing with a large
cast of people, many living on the edge, language that often bends and breaks
up, energy and an often lyrical strangeness. The reader is often left uncertain
about just what is going on and there is something very appealing about this
In Running Out there is a considerable
amount of public writing, for festivals and residencies, and work for radio.
There are several long sequences and lengthy transcriptions. I think that
some readers may regret that so much had gone into one book, particularly the
transcriptions, and the way that from time to time the presense of the poet
at work gets in the way. The
power of so many individual poems throughout the collection, the way
they bounce off the page, the windfalls of meaning and racing images, the
stabs of sadness are so rich and valuable that some of the sequences come
across on the page as somewhat journalistic.
The opening sequence of 32 parts, 'All Saints Elegies', a response to Rilke,
is no exception. Later in the collection, a sequence resulting from a week in
Poland avoids thinking things through quite so much, mainly because of the
horror of the subject matter. The evidence of horror is enough. A shorter
sequence, about horpeness, accompanied by photographs, is a much finer
Each time I work my way into this book I delight in the shorter poems,their
tang and energy and very much their detail; 'We came then', 'The gully
hermits', 'Of course when they say', 'The stiltwalkers', 'Ah'.
This poem resulted from a reading be Tadeusz Rozewitz at the University of
Warwick held in May 2001:
opening words of the poem
a woman in
the audience raises her hand
more words,her head
is to one
more words,her arm seems to
she opens her
Finally, a very specific comment on the production of the book that contains
on page 272 a polemic on paper specification. It is wonderful indeed to see
and hold and read from such a beautifully created book. So much attention to
detail and feel so that the eye and mind work together.
I have no doubt that I will read this collection over and over and find new
things in it. David Hart has an extraordinary sensitivity and when he lets
the poem fly out and out it can be a wonder.
© David Grubb 2007