Matt Hart


Matt Hart is the author of five books of poems: Who's Who Vivid (Slope Editions, 2006), Wolf Face (H_NGM_N BKS, 2010), Light-Headed (BlazeVOX, 2011), and Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless (Typecast Publishing, 2012), and Debacle Debacle (H_NGM_N BKS, 2013). Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Big Bell, Cincinnati Review, Coldfront, Columbia Poetry Review, H_NGM_N, Harvard Review, jubilat, Lungfull!, and Post Road, among others. Hart's awards include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band TRAVEL. He has served as a visiting professor in creative writing at the University of Texas, Austin. Source

The Friend

For Nate Pritts


The friend lives half in the grass

and half in the chocolate cake,

walks over to your house in the bashful light

of November, or the forceful light of summer.

You put your hand on her shoulder,

or you put your hand on his shoulder.

The friend is indefinite. You are both

so tired, no one ever notices the sleeping bags

inside you and under your eyes when you’re talking

together about the glue of this life, the sticky

saturation of bodies into darkness. The friend’s crisis

of faith about faith is unnerving in its power

to influence belief, not in or toward some other

higher power, but away from all power in the grass

or the lake with your hand on her shoulder, your hand

on his shoulder. You tell the friend the best things

you can imagine, and every single one of them has

already happened, so you recount them

of great necessity with nostalgic, atomic ferocity,

and one by one by one until many. The eggbirds whistle

the gargantuan trees. The noiserocks fall twisted

into each other’s dreams, their colorful paratrooping,

their skinny dark jeans, little black walnuts

to the surface of this earth. You and the friend

remain twisted together, thinking your simultaneous

and inarticulate thoughts in physical lawlessness,

in chemical awkwardness. It is too much

to be so many different things at once. The friend

brings black hole candy to your lips, and jumping

off the rooftops of your city, the experience.

So much confusion — the several layers of exhaustion,

and being a friend with your hands in your pockets,

and the friend’s hands in your pockets.

O bitter black walnuts of this parachuted earth!

O gongbirds and appleflocks! The friend

puts her hand on your shoulder. The friend

puts his hand on your shoulder. You find

a higher power when you look.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a new word, serious or humorous, coined by a writer.