23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart was born in 1954 in Ockendon, Essex (Great Britain) and grew up in London. In 1966 his family moved to Brisbane, Australia. Hart studied English and Philosophy at the Australian National University, took a writing scholarship at Stanford University and spent several months travelling in Europe. He returned to Australia in 1978 and published »The Departure«, the first of twelve poetry collections to date. After teaching in Australia for many years he took a position as Professor of Philosophy and Literature at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA.

Hart’s poetry combines worldly experience with deep contemplation. His poems speak in a clear, succinct voice, are accessible and bring the world of daily experience closer to a deeper, more spiritual level. Hart’s poetry attempts to grasp the pain and suffering of human experience and at the same time conjures the riches of human and spiritual existence. His work cannot be confined within spatial or temporal boundaries: it continues the tradition of Yves Bonnefoy, Johannes vom Kreuz and Hölderlin. His poems speak of devotion to nature, and he enriches the traditional Romantic idealisation of it with intense subjective expressiveness. His attention is on time and the changes it brings, amongst which he includes death and human mortality (for which he uses shadows as metaphors) as the end of temporal perception. Hart’s work includes free verse prose poems as well as classic rhyming forms which occasionally suggest hymns. The renowned American critic Harold Bloom called Hart »one of the major living poets of the English language« and »a visionary of desire and its limits.« Hart has won many prizes, including the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry. In 1999 he was awarded the Christopher Brennan Award for his life’s work in poetry.

In addition to his literary work, Hart is also active as a literary critic and theorist. His first work of non-fiction, »The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology and Philosophy« (1989), is dedicated to the relationship between deconstruction and mysticism. He has published further studies on post-modernism and the literature of the 18th century, as well as books on Jacques Derrida, Samuel Johnson and Maurice Blanchot.

Hart is currently a professor at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, USA, where he also lives.


Your Shadow

Angus & Robertson

Melbourne, 1984

New and Selected Poems

Angus & Robertson

Melbourne, 1995

Wicked Heat

Paperbark Press

Sydney, 1999

Flame Tree: Selected Poems

Paper Bark Press

Brooklyn, 2001

Young Rain

Bloodaxe Books

Highgreen, 2009