by Jeff Hardin
isbn: 978-1-948692-80-9 paperback $18.95
isbn: 978-1-948692-81-6 ebook $9.99
6 x 9, 80pp
At the heart of Jeff Hardin’s inventive seventh collection Watermark, a devotional, philosophical faith seeks “to know what can’t be known,” to step into, as if a sanctuary, “some deeper / deep / than what our words / can touch.” In each poem, his meditations stitch back through a visible, vertical phrase—a whispered prayer, a “watermark”—that serves not only to anchor thought but also to align and to re-align the purpose of thought within “this bent and broken world.” Born from Frost, Dickinson, Rilke, Whitman, and others, these phrases bind us and bless us at a time “when it seems the words / to enter others’ lives / are disappearing.” In an age in which it is increasingly difficult to “sort out what is true,” Hardin’s poems invite us to wake to the mystery all around us, to time’s revelatory unfolding, and to how our minds might find healing, if not communion, if only we listened intently enough to hear “the intercessions / made on our behalf.”
Jeff Hardin is the author of six previous collections of poetry, most recently A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, No Other Kind of World, and Small Revolution. His work has been honored with the Nicholas Roerich Prize, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and the X. J. Kennedy Prize. Originally from Savannah, Tennessee, he has taught for almost three decades at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee.
Cover Photo: “So Many Ways” by Donna Doyle
Author Photo: A. J. Holmes
What people are saying about WATERMARK
In Watermark, his seventh collection, Jeff Hardin continues his project of retrieving shreds of grace from the dusty corners of ache and want. With an attention to form as original and incisive as Mary Szybist’s, and with a sense of wonder as far-reaching as Wendell Berry’s, he spins out poems that have a timeless quality—like the hand stitching of a nine-patch quilt, or congregational singing from a shape-note hymnal, or the eternity-flung stanzas George Herbert left behind. Jeff Hardin’s poems are vessels of wisdom and truth.
—Bobby Rogers, author of Paper Anniversary and Social History
For years, Jeff Hardin’s captivating, spiritually engaged poems have revealed the resonant beauty of the natural world and celebrated the labor of metaphysical striving. Watermark’s lyrically rewarding poems provide a “whispered prayer” that tracks Hardin’s deliberations and debates with luminous companions—Yeats, Whitman, Hopkins, Dickinson, Oliver, the Four Evangelists, U2, John Mellencamp, and more. This poet’s restless intellect pays tribute to “the shape of thought,/how it shimmers and stretches/and cannot lie still,” examining the legacy of personal loss, family trauma, and the “murky depths” of faith. Hardin, a master craftsman, brings into view “the glimpsed-forth/shining/of one thing seen/through the presence/of another.
—Jane Satterfield, author of Apocalypse Mix