Editor’s Note

The essayist Brian Doyle says that “we all churn inside.” You could say art is a history, a validation, and an expression of this churning. The churning is, of course, what it means to be a human being in a crazy inexplicable, appalling, beautiful world.   Art proves that our own churning is not something to be suppressed but explored, reverenced, provoked, held at gunpoint, frisked for meaning, considered calmly from a distance.  In other words, our churning is not some biological footnote—it is essential to who we are.

So what is Inscape but a journal of student churning.  We have humorous churning, tragic churning, love-struck churning, poetic, fictional, and nonfictional churning.  I think a literary journal says something about our university, our students, or staff, and our writers.  It shows we recognize a vital facet of life, this struggle to make sense of things through creative outlets, through art, to which Inscape helps give voice.  It’s our recognition that students at BYU are trying to figure life out in 2009.  The best art expands our capacity for empathy.  We’re helping both writer and reader get outside themselves for a bit, giving them something they can take back on the inside and use.

There’s this study of jazz musicians and what happens in their brains when they play music.  Researchers hooked these musicians up to all sorts of machines— cords and adhesives connecting the inner workings of their brains to sensors and whatnot.  Wired and monitored, they were given some sheet music.  They played, their brains lit up on the monitors, and the researchers found what they had thought they would find: the basic neural communications involved when we execute learned motor skills.  Then the sheet music was removed and they were given headphones.  Researchers told the musicians to listen to the recorded jazz and improvise over it.  Now their brains lit up in completely different ways.

Researchers discovered that when the musicians improvised, they accessed regions of the brain that deal with autobiographical information.  They accessed the parts of themselves that were most them.  They accessed identity and self.  It means if you juxtaposed a musician’s brain improvising with a musician’s brain telling a childhood story, the same parts would illuminate on the screen.

Art is deeply connected to who we are and what we become as we express ourselves.  So when you see Charlie Parker wailing on his saxophone, he’s not just running through memorized scales.  He’s saying, this is me; this is who I am; this is Charlie Parker.  That is why Inscape is so important.  We encourage developing writers and artists in the process, and we’re not just publishing words or pictures, but parts of people, which is what art has always been about.

Summer

by Kevin Hart

August: fat summer lounges eve1ywhere,
Enjoying all the grasses’ loopy green
And that young sky whose blue has grown so rich.
The birds drink deep before they take the air.

I walk around, and reach inside the flesh
Of white oaks, yellow warblers, squirrels, pine,
And feel their puzzled gazes settle down
And start to feel at home inside a world

I barely know because I’m new to life,
Though life is old. Bruised light before a storm;
And if it came, the rapture would be clean,
In Indiana it would sweep each soul

Up in its tide of self and victory.
O lay me down, Dark One, lay me down
Until you bend to me; be like the moon
That bathes my row of bent tomato plants,

O lay me down, until I can be sweet,
Until the deer will kiss my eyes, and let
Me learn from them, until the summer nibs
Her sweaty flesh against me one last time.

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

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

Tomorrow

by Kevin Hart
/
A breeze silks through my room and smells of oak
As evening gathers round the house:
The firefly neighborhoods
Press close these days

And I walk out, as thin as summer rain,
And see the houses holding still
And hear the cinnamon speech
Of lightning life.

A letter brought its silence to my door
A life or two ago today
And threw its weight around
Though flies still burn:

Tomorrow rain may change its slant again,
The wind may push the other way,
New flies may flicker past
And houses last.

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

The Dead

by Kevin Hart

Ah now the dead are coming, clocks in hand,
They’re rootless from those parties at the park
All weeds and daisies now; they’re calling late,
Late August streaming down , they ride it hard,

All loose and ma1velous on gold long beams,
They’re rushing in the pleasure of fat peach,
And in the seams of clothes that sleep in lofts,
They’re sidling close at dusk in windows now

Because that’s all they have, except for us,
They’re filling in the gaps between thin words,
And in the words themselves when they go dark,
And in the dark itself when there’s no word:

It is the night that enters us, and not
The afternoon that whispers velvet days
And darkly simmers there with weeds and words,
Ah no, it is the night that knows the flesh ,

It is the dead that call and call too late,
And not the night with its dark words and lofts,
It is the dead that call, caress our flesh,
Clock on, cajole, command, and call again.

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