Libby Hart’s poetry crosses diverse cultural worlds and physical locations. She often incorporates emotional landscapes into these settings in order to convey the human condition, and her work has strong links to nature as a theme.
Hart’s first poetry collection, Fresh News from the Arctic, underpins her major preoccupations of place, memory, history, culture and mythology. She also gravitates toward threads and linkages to create layers of meaning. This is best conveyed through the lyrical and narrative work, This Floating World, which is essentially a celebration of how, in some small way, we are connected to all things.
In This Floating World the almost book-length title poem acts as a songline or oral map of Ireland. The reader is guided through this invocation of place by an omnipotent force who listens in on the intimate soliloquies of people, ghosts, animals, landscape and ocean. The direction this journey takes is largely dictated by the wind and the rain.
Poet and academic, Prof David McCooey, judge of the 38th Age Book of the Year awards (Dinny O’Hearn Poetry Prize), wrote of This Floating World: “Others have presented Ireland as ghost-haunted and watery, but Hart’s version of that seems entirely original. Her landscape is peopled by enigmatic loners, full of desire and suspicious of speech. Hart’s pared-back diction, powerful metaphors and sense of atmosphere all combine to make this a gripping collection”. [McCooey, D., ‘The Pick of the Crop’, The Age, Life & Style supplement, p. 26, 6 August, 2011, Melbourne, Australia.]
Libby Hart’s most recent poetry collection, Wild, contemplates on our ties to, and experience with, the world around us. International in scope, Wild evokes notions of wonderment and wanderment chiefly via poems about animals, birds and migration.
Wild was described by the judges of the 2015 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards (Assoc Prof Kim Chen Boey, Mr Peter Boyle and Dr Peter Minter), as a “powerful collection [that] is informed with the wonder and wild energy of a bestiary of familiar creatures made unfamiliar through Hart’s sinuous lyricism … Language in these poems works not simply as representation but as incantation, spell and offering”. [Boey, K. C. et al, 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry) Judges Report, State Library of NSW with Arts NSW, 18 May 2015, Sydney, Australia.]