Oct 10, 2019 | Inspiring Success , Humanities and Social Sciences

Columbia State Professor Publishes Sixth Poetry Collection

Jeff Hardi
Photo Caption: Jeff Hardin, Columbia State professor of English, is a Hardin County native and currently resides in Columbia.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Oct. 10, 2019) - - -Columbia State Community College professor of English, Jeff Hardin, recently published his most recent book “A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being.” 

In the past seven years, Hardin has published five collections of poetry. Four of Hardin’s books have received awards, including the Donald Justice Prize in 2015 and the X. J. Kennedy Prize in 2017. Over the last three decades, hundreds of his poems have appeared in many of the nation’s leading journals, including “The Southern Review,” “North American Review,” “Hudson Review” and others.

Of this newest collection, poet Al Maginnes says, “Hardin’s poems embrace and extend the fellowship of language and make the eternal seem, for a moment, not as distant.”

Poet Catie Rosemurgy, writing of Hardin’s work, speaks of “a beautiful, grateful intellectual humility” always at work within his approach. She says, “These are poems we need, poems clear-eyed enough to find and praise the gaps, the absences, [and] the silences.”

“A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being” was completed almost a decade ago. The book explores what it means to be a soul, to seek enchantment within a world where it is increasingly difficult to find, much less to stand inside, a moment’s clarity. 

Is it possible to find “a view that wasn’t there before?” Hardin asks. “Writing poems, for me, is a form of daily devotion, an attempt to hear within language a purer language than the one we use in our day-to-day lives.”

Pressed to describe what a clearing space in the middle of being actually means, Hardin describes it as “a preview of eternity.” He imagines it as a space in which we are “hushed at last before the unknown.” 

The book’s cover also has a Columbia State connection, marking the third cover image by one of Hardin’s former students, John Sercel. Sercel’s photographs previously served as the covers for “Restoring the Narrative” and “Small Revolution.” 

Hardin will read from his new collection at the Southern Festival of Books on Sunday, Oct. 13. He will also be a visiting writer with the Meacham Writers Conference Oct. 24-26. On Nov. 12, he will appear at the Dark Horse Theater in Nashville as part of the Writers in Conversation series.

Hardin earned his bachelor’s in English from Austin Peay State University and his master’s in creative writing from the University of Alabama. He has taught at Columbia State since 1994.