Winner of the 2007 Anhinga Prize for Poetry.
Kenneth Hart received an MFA from Warren Wilson College in 1998. He teaches writing at New York University works in the family roofing business and gives readings and workshops for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. His poems have been published in Arts & Letters North American Review Mead Mississippi Review Barrow Street The Bellingham Review Paterson Literary Review and Poet Lore and his book reviews appear regularly in Journal of New Jersey Poets. He is the 2007 co-winner of the Allen Ginsberg Award and the recipient of the 2008 editor's prize for New Ohio Review. His poem "Keep America Beautiful" was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac in 2009. He lives in Long Valley NJ and spends his summers in Alaska. Hart's book Uh Oh Time was selected by Mark Jarman as winner of the 2007 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. In 2013 he became Poetry Editor of The Florida Review.
Engaged by contemporary American life at every level from the down-and-out to the urban sublime the poems in Kenneth Hart's Uh Oh Time have at their core a sensitive lonely individual who has a marvelous way with words. Whether he is conversing with a Russian lap dancer writing an ode to the diner or analyzing a mayfly's husk on a shower curtain the poet shows a genuine affection for his subjects an affection embodied in language that is always rich complex and various. His own name says it all. This is a poet with heart. --Mark Jarman
Because the memory must be lubricated with oil./Because the soul's expression/requires a chalice /...they put out your eyes/if you did not use them on earth /they remove the tongue/because it shriveled from underachievement. It's clear from this first book of poems that Hart's tongue doesn't lack achievement. He shows readers that not only is he skilled in creating fresh images but he also exhibits great facility with language. These are not typical first-book poems filled with the angst of growing up. These narrative pieces run the gamut from cityscapes to rural backdrops from urban sparrings in music stores and strip joints to examinations of bottoms of beer mugs and overfilled ticks. Hart's poems move from story to surprise with great skill a spot-on timing that serves readers well. Often witty and ironic the poems have plenty of sass and sarcasm to go around but these are not all funny poems. There is a deep respect for humanity here and a deep loneliness from a life lived with loss as well as gain It's uh-oh-time again when a woman asks me out/after a year of being on my own/the number on the bar napkin is the permission slip/to stop hating myself This is a book written with skill and substance from a worthy new voice --Library Journal
Kenneth Hart s poems are so natural-seeming so unpretentious the reader isn t required to notice how beautifully-controlled and rendered they are. There s a ton of self-knowledge here and generous melancholy insight into human nature and comedy too but it is always mediated by the linguistic artfulness of real poetry: adventurous sentences frequent shifts in scale tone and intensity constantly modulated perspective. Each one of these poems is what Stevens called the cry of an occasion an adventurous and lucid event which gives us pleasure and recognition. Kenneth Hart steps into American poetry with a freshness of substance and a distinctive style. --Tony Hoagland