Jonathan Locke Hart explores in a contemporary context the divine and human comedy, taking his inspiration from Dante, but also making and questioning poetry in a world where light shines "on abandoned tires, industrial/ Junk devoid of allegory" and in a world that is and is not real. This poetry is an exploration of mind, body and soul in an industrial and technological world vastly changed from the tremendous mythological worlds constructed by great poets such as Dante and Shakespeare. The poem moves away from this "sullen industrial waste" and the fires of existential hell through the in-between and purgatorial state to one of hope and light. All this is within and without the contemporary world. "Hart turns to a rarer, more public form of address, one that sees the world feelingly in the nerves and heart while grasping it with the mind, assessing it and finally judging it. This is an exercise in moral and political speech...Few poets - though they include Eliot, Auden, Lowell, Jorie Graham and A. R. Ammons - venture with such authority to speak for the world." Gordon Teskey, Harvard University
Jonathan Locke Hart is Chair Professor, Creative Writing, Comparative Literature, Theory, and Literature in English and Director, Centre for Creative Writing and Literary Translation and Culture at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He is also Core Faculty in Comparative Literature at Western University and Life Member, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he is a poet, writer of other genres, literary scholar and historian who studied at Toronto and Cambridge and has held visiting appointments at Harvard, Cambridge, Princeton, Toronto, the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III) and elsewhere. The author of many articles and over twenty books, he has been writing since he was thirteen, and, for more than thirty years, his poetry has appeared in literary journals, such as Quarry, Grain, The Antigonish Review, Mattoid and Harvard Review. His books of poetry are Breath and Dust, Dream China, Dream Salvage, Dreamwork, and Musing. He has collaborated with artists on artist books like Darkfire, The Waiting Room and Stow. His poetry has been translated into many languages including French, Chinese, German, Russian, Polish, Romanian, Estonian, Greek, Slovenian and Serbian. In 2016, part of his novel, Not an Incredible Journey, will appear in Serbian.