hart island
Poetry | $15.95
paperback, 80 pages, 5 x 7.75 in
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978-1-937658-34-2

A long poem about contemporary New York ponders self and society in poetry, politics, and the polis.

In hart island, the poet narrator walks and works in the East Village of Manhattan navigating the day to day needs and desires of a community, an organization, a changing neighborhood, as well as her own. The poem, which begins after she discovers the existence of an appropriated, politically walled-off potter’s field/prison, proposes that others are not figurative or metaphorical, but are literal, material—that alterity can be both a limit and radiance.

"Stacy’s hart island is so beautiful like the first time I saw 2nd Avenue w cobblestones.  This poem’s no story, but all memory & event splash:

places of death redacted
though each unique as in
corner of Broadway and

She takes on New York’s “potter’s field” in a mode so quotable meaning full of moments all of me wants to occupy. It’s a good book!"   — Eileen Myles

"At the core of hart island is a counter-burial project. Szymaszek exhumes utterances past. Better yet, she mines their latent energy by moving them around, accelerating their particles. In doing so, she reanimates the NYC that we heart. The one in which we can tap into the city’s radically democratizing potential as great collider by going out and taking it all in."   — Mónica de la Torre

"One cannot know whether the dark shadow of the city in Stacy Szymaszek’s hart island breathes up through the pervasive cement, the trains, “this veneer of civilization” or whether the poet courts the shadow in order to facilitate a healing integration. What we do know is that these poems enliven the quotidian and any propensity we might have for the ordinary thought. They give us glimpses, as if from the corner of the eye, into cracks in the surface where “how a body becomes unwanted” can emerge. hart island is a brilliant, haunting achievement that calls to mind those striking moments when we think we see the hand of God on an otherwise blue sunny day."   — Dawn Lundy Martin