Jeff Hardin’s poems are shaped like sonnets (even though most, but not all, eschew rhyme), and for someone as besotted with poetry (poems and poets are frequently mentioned) and language (the resonances of words and the weirdness of the way they evoke the world are a recurrent preoccupation) as he reveals himself to be, his circling around but never quite embracing a traditional form seems wholly appropriate. The prevailing tone, even when he is dealing with the recalcitrant subject matter implicit in a hardscrabble childhood, is one of incipient mysticism, the feeling of being on the edge of a revelation of meaning that never quite declares itself (lines can sound like Traherne at times, or even Blake). The poems have a simultaneous tact and openness to the world that is persuasive and beguiling; though the surface tone shifts from poem to poem, almost all of them glow with a kind of inner honesty that is both their strength and their beauty, “refracting silvered flashes out of reach” as the poet says.

—Dick Davis, Judge


Jeff Hardin is the author of two previous collections: Fall Sanctuary (Story Line Press, 2005), recipient of the Nicholas Roerich Prize, and Notes for a Praise Book (Jacar Press, 2013), winner of the Jacar Press Book Award. Until That Yellow Bird Returns, a letterpress chapbook of five-line poems, was recently printed by Red Hydra Press. His fourth collection, Small Revolution, is forthcoming in 2016. He is a professor of English at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee.