Bibliohio: Recommended reading from the heart-shaped state

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

“Debacle Debacle,” Matt Hart (H_NGM_N BKS, 2013)

Why you’ll love it:

Coleridge, Jane, Plato, Montana, Humana, Agnes, Vampire Weekend — these are just a handful of the names that bedazzle Matt Hart’s fifth collection of poems. Because of this, Hart’s poems are infused with intimacy, immediacy and yes, his characteristic intensity. Hart’s trick is making the strange, quirky image into one we feel instantly familiar with and fond of. Werewolf faces, couch-stained couches, letters to friends we’ve never met … sure, why not? We love ’em all by the end of this book.

See for yourself:

“You’re in Martha’s Vineyard. You’re at King’s Island./ If you’re reading this poem, I am seventy-six, or maybe I am not./ You miss me or I miss you…It is always this way/ with people. Call me right away when you get this.”

—from “To You at Forty From Me Right Now”

“Sky Ward,” Kazim Ali (Wesleyan University Press, 2013)

Why you’ll love it:

Kazim Ali is a master of saying many things at once with very few words. His recent collection, “Sky Ward,” centers on the myth of Icarus, but is no mere retelling. Ali steals threads from that myth — obsessions with sky and flight, escape, mazes, fatherly wisdom. But most compellingly (and in hypnotic cadence), he inhabits and transforms these elements; this allows the poems to feel deeply personal and authentic. Celebrating the sensuous and the sacred, Ali’s poems re-invent gravity.

See for yourself:

“Your body screaming to sink and the hunger for bliss/ dragging you out of the world yet again// You say you know what you are and what you are made of/ but can you face the unending blue both above and below// I pray you unwing yourself/ unwing yourself and fall”

—from “The Argument”