Poetry winner shares her gift with students


Kathleen Hart, winner of the 2015 Jacopone da Todi Poetry Book Prize, gave a reading for the Franciscan community last Tuesday night in the International Lounge.

At her reading, Hart expressed her deep gratitude, saying she was honored to be the first of many talented poets to accept this award. She is the first winner from the Franciscan University Press competition.

Hart began the night by reading several poems from her book, “A Cut-and-Paste Country,” which was then followed by a question-and-answer session, when several students and professors shared their appreciation and enthusiasm for her work.

Kathleen Hart speaks at the Jaoponela Todi Poetry Reading (Photo by Ben Siemens)

During her reading, Hart captured her small, attentive audience with masterfully crafted language that freshman Cristina Aramayo said, “changed my perspective on poetry and allowed me to look at life through God’s beauty.”

Hart shared with her audience that the idea behind “A Cut-and-Paste Country” is that she “cuts” ideas from everything she absorbs and studies then “pastes” them together in her collection of poetry. Her inspiration flows from history, psychiatry, architecture and art to National Geographic, The New York Times, and crater projection maps.

Hart’s poems portrayed a wide variety of themes including joy, grief, humility and gratitude that artfully interlock in praise of God.

As a Christian poet aspiring for a disciple’s heart, Hart strongly believes poetry is a gift from God and should express the transcendent. ”You can’t say I’m going to make this (poem) today, you have to receive it,” she said.

Hart explained that, even when she didn’t actively write about her faith, she found that “God still came into them. It’s something baked in, in your DNA and in your heart.”

“It was unlike any poetry I’ve encountered. The subject matter seemed to remind me of mundane, everyday life but in a new perspective,” said student Mary Alaric.