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Hart poetry blog

John Hart, caricature by Geoff Bernstein I’ve begun blogging about poetry at memorablespeech.com. Why? As a poet, editor, and teacher, raised in the craft by my father Lawrence Hart and his “Activist” colleagues, I have some things to say that I hope will be of interest. Not always nice things: for I think the current [...]

2020 water stories

Still on the Bay-Delta water beat. In late 2020 I wrote about a highway and a town menaced by sea level rise; interviewed leading Bay scientist Julie Beagle for the  new podcast series Science-in-Short; and reported on the iffy condition of the “research fleet,” the multi-agency armada of about 100 specially equipped boats that brings [...]

Viruses come and go (soon, we hope), but the tug-of-war over California water is always with us. In a piece for Bay Nature, I trace the latest twists as Governor Newsom seeks compromise and President Trump seeks, well, nothing but maximum water for the San Joaquin Valley. The hope of a negotiated truce seems to [...]

So begins my lengthy article on the poets of the Activist Group, which formed in the 1930s around my father Lawrence Hart and achieved national profile in the 1950s. The piece appears in the online journal Talisman: A Journal of Poetry & Poetics. I describe Hart’s critical ideas, his unique approach to nurturing poetic talent, [...]

In October in Oakland, scientists met to share research results on the health of San Francisco Bay and the Delta. Diagnosis: condition guarded and trending the wrong way. Getting from knowledge to timely action is the challenge I write about in two longish pieces for the excellent Estuary News, December issue. Can a little more [...]

John Hart, caricature by Geoff Bernstein So many people write poetry: How many read it with open yet discriminating minds? This discussion course at Book Passage, Corte Madera, is a place to get down to earth with poems: what we like and what maybe we don’t; what has a stirring effect and what, in another [...]

Magical history tour

Bluecoat and Pioneer has been on the road, with events in Casper, Wyoming (Fort Caspar Museum), Story, Wyoming (Fort Phil Kearny) and Cedaredge, Colorado (Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center and Pioneer Town). I gave four different slide shows, featuring John Benton Hart’s stories of adventure in each spot. In October, it’s the turn of [...]

My poem “Sirens” is one of two texts chosen to be drawn in calligraphy for display among paintings and sculptures in the exhibit “Earth Air Water Fire: Balancing on the Edge.” The show hangs through May in the Tides Converge Gallery at the former Letterman Hospital site, 1012 Torney, San Francisco (open weekdays, 8:30 to [...]

Bluecoat book launch

Bluecoat and Pioneer debuts in Berkeley on February 21, 5:30 to 7:00, at University Press Books on the edge of the UC campus, 2430 Bancroft Way. I’ll talk about the origin of the manuscript–“a genuine attic find,” one reviewer says–sketch the 150-year-old events my ancestor barely survived, and read some dramatic passages.  We’ll explore an [...]

After 150 years, the selected adventures of my frontiersman great-grandpa are in print from University of Oklahoma Press: Bluecoat and Pioneer: The Recollections of John Benton Hart, 1864-1868. Foe of the Confederates and friend of the Crow Indians, JBH was something of a hero and something of a scamp, with his own lively angle on [...]