My First Tie

by Kevin Hart

My father gave me my first tie
When I was all too young.
0 long and thin and black it was
And I climbed up a rung.

“I’ll wear it at your funeral, Dad, ”
I said, absorbed with black,
My father grew a foot too tall:
“Maybe I’ll take it back.”

He knotted it behind my neck
And I shot up an inch
I looked into a mirror, hard ,
And saw my father flinch.

When going through my father’s things –
Stained medals, bric-a-brac –
I found that tie a week too late:
“Maybe I’ll take it back.”

Kevin Hart is the Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Virginia. He’s a respected literary critic, philosopher, and theologian who originally hails from Australia , where he grew up. Most importantly, for our purpose in the corning pages, Hart is known far and wide as a major poet. He’s been called original, indispensable, visionary, and one of the finest poets writing in English today. BYU was happy to host him on September 8, 2009 as part of the English Reading Series, and I was fortunate to enjoy a few minutes of his time discussing literature, novel jokes, the ineffable, print culture, and the best way to lull a baby back to sleep in the bleary AM (with poetry, of course). It turns out Hart is not only a great poet but a really decent, personable guy—energetic and extremely easy to talk to. When he offered to send Inscape some original poems, I jumped at the chance. You’ll find these poems—The Dead, Tomorrow, My First Tie, Summer—and our full interview in the following pages. We hope you enjoy. As far as I can tell, Kevin Hart is the first Australian poet to be featured in Inscape. We’re grateful for the opportunity and the support.
—Brent Rowland