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The Joy of Blasphemy

by Mark D. Hart

This remarkable book of poems delivers on the promise of its title, The Joy of Blasphemy, with exquisitely crafted poems that stand, like a ripened wheat field on the Palouse, holding the abundance of their harvest for any reader who arrives to read them with an eye and an ear for the truth told straight, granular, deep and wide in each poem’s open embrace of what is. From the barn where he invites us to listen to “a cacophony of low-church cow Latin,” to the water percolating up from aquifers below into “living streams of speech,” offering him “a religion for the body” as he drinks of it from his hands, we feel the poet’s deep adoration for all that is. His touching reflections of the wild turkeys, the otters, black bear, the masturbating priest and apple orchard nourish us with tastes of his humility and his blasphemous joy.
—Gary Whited, author of Having Listened

Mark D. Hart’s first book, Boy Singing to Cattle (Pearl Editions), won the Pearl Poetry Prize and was a 2014 finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. Raised on a wheat farm in the Palouse region of eastern Washington State, he now lives in an apple orchard in western Massachusetts, and his poetry draws inspiration from farming and the natural world.