Author, teacher and creativity coach Nina Hart has just released her first prose poetry collection, Somewhere In a Town You Never Knew Existed Somewhere. The book is equal parts engaging and absurdist, stretching the mind of the reader to connect emotionally with the likes of a waitress who lives inside an air conditioner (à la David Lynch’s radiator girl in Eraserhead), a singing elephant and a long dead poet, among others.
The heart of the book lies in giving voice to the vulnerable, and in doing so, Hart shared that she had to allow their voices to come through without a filter. “I had to make a deal with my muse — or whatever you’d like to call that bigger creative mind — that I would just trust these crazy stories. Sometimes I would think, ‘Oh God, do I really have to say that?’ And my muse would say, ‘Yeah, you’ve gotta say that,’ and I’d have to let go of my ego in service of this creation that was unfolding.” This letting go sometimes led to unexpected words on the page, including punctuation and grammatical “errors,” Hart said, but she owned the process and embraced it, which is why she’s come to refer to herself as a “hooligan writer,” a troublemaker in the writing world.
Hart teaches writing workshops — which she calls “Writing from the Top of Your Head” — to help others let go and allow their writing flow through. She also offers coaching services for those who want to incorporate more creativity into their life and work. More about Hart and her writings and events can be found at writingfromthetopofyourhead.com. She is launching her new book at Malaprop’s.