Ohio: Matt Hart’s “Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless”
“‘I woke up / this morning to a world cataclysmic / in the ordinary ways': And this world in Matt Hart’s Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless, operates in stereo. In its right speaker: the melody of a male vocalist who feels literally beside himself, constantly observing each of life’s interactions while also ferociously experiencing them, yelling Emerson and Whitman and Kant into the mic. In the left blares the bass lines of Jawbreaker, Alice Cooper, and the yawps of Patti Smith. “One can’t be out-of-control-in control,” writes Hart, and with a righteous blending of pulpit fervor and mosh pit frenzy, these poems feed upon the friction of life’s contradictions and our hunger for absolutes, setting up the reader to discover “nothing is perfectly nailed to the wall.” Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless is an epic call for magnificence and truth from a remarkable poet at his finest.”
Mary Ruefle says about the book: “‘Do poems have insoles? With which to absorb their own shock? I don’t know, but reading Matt Hart’s new book led me to consider the ways in which our ideas of genre have been broken and fantastically reformed. These poems (sermons? lectures? a rock concert?) will leave the reader crash-landed and dazed, but muttering tiny sweet things under his breath: ‘how nice it is to be entangled in all the ways we are.’”
Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless will be for sale at AWP Chicago, including a limited-edition letterpress box set version of the book from The Firecracker Press, pictured above, which includes individually bound book sections, metallic ink, and the new Travel CD, “Blank Sermons…Relentless Lectures,” inspired by the book.