Columbia State English Professor Pens Third Poetry Collection

Book Signing Saturday, Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. – Noon

Jeff Hardin photo
Photo Caption: Jeff Hardin


(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Oct. 14, 2015) - - - Columbia State Community College Professor of English Jeff Hardin recently received the 2015 Donald Justice Poetry Prize from West Chester University Poetry Center for his third book of poetry, “Restoring the Narrative.”

“[Jeff Hardin’s poems] glow with a kind of inner honesty that is both their strength and their beauty,” said Dick Davis, Donald Justice Poetry Prize judge.         

Hardin will be signing his new book Saturday, Oct. 17 at Old Curiosity Bookshop in Columbia from 10 a.m. – noon.

The book is a collection of sonnets, many of which are set along a creek in Hardin’s native Hardin County. The book wrestles with the idea of creating one’s own story, one’s own “narrative,” in a world of competing ideas.

“Years ago I read a sonnet about chopping wood—something I did a lot of while growing up,” Hardin said. “Suddenly all these memories came back of my childhood on a creek bank. I put these memories in this fourteen line sonnet form. It turns out the form is a great shape for holding fleeting images.”

In his poem “Acknowledgments,” Hardin pays tribute to writers who have influenced his work, poets like Pablo Neruda and Seamus Heaney.

“These writers made my days enormous and me inside them small, erased, and whole,” Hardin explained.

Hardin said his sonnet “Book in Hand” was written for his former student, Liz Graham, who was always reading on campus.

“Books can lead us to wisdom, I think, and Liz was already wise beyond her age. I think of the poem as an agreement with her about the value of reading,” Hardin said. “Books provide us with the chance to be “increased by others’ thoughts.” Her presence, like a lot of my students through the years, has increased my life.”

The Savannah, Tenn. native has taught at Columbia State since 1994 and currently teaches creative writing, American literature and composition classes. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Austin Peay State University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from The University of Alabama.

Hardin’s second collection, “Notes for a Praise Book,” appeared in 2013 and won the Jacar Press Book Award. His fourth book, “Small Revolution,” will be published in early 2016. Hardin’s other poetry can be viewed at his author website, http://jeffhardin.weebly.com/.

 Cover of a book

Photo Caption: Jeff Hardin’s former student, John Sercel, provided the photo for the cover of “Restoring the Narrative.”

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.

Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at tncommunitycolleges.org.

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