Saturday, November 18, 2017

Public Poetry at the Northfield Public Library

In early August, the director of the Northfield Public Library, Teresa Jensen, asked me to write a poem to be displayed prominently in the atrium of the Northfield Public Library. She wanted something that would capture the essence of the library as a place of knowledge and stories, a community gathering place, and a democratic institution. I wrote a poem in five stanzas of four lines each. The first four stanzas consist of three lines in English and a concluding line in Spanish. The final stanza translates each of the Spanish lines into English.

On Friday, November 17, 2017, the poem was installed at the public library. The plastic films were designed, created, and installed by Graphic Mailbox in Northfield. Here's the Northfield Public Library's Facebook post unveiling the new poem:

Friday, November 3, 2017

New Publication: Commentary on Selections from Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica

In 2014, I started work on a commentary on Selections from Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica for the Dickinson College Commentaries series. Three years later, the commentary has gone live on the DCC website. The commentary, with grammatical and historical notes, vocabulary lists, and accompanying maps, images, and essays, is accessible for free by anyone who wants to read Bede's wonderful Latin and learn about Anglo-Saxon Christianity. The commentary would not have been possible without the contributions of Austin Mason (Carleton College) and Christopher Francese (Dickinson College). Other contributors include: Bret Mulligan (Haverford College), Sasha Mayn (Carleton College ’18), Bard Swallow (Carleton College ’18), Martha Durrett (Carleton College ’18), William North (Carleton College), and the participants in the 2016 Dickinson College Latin Workshop.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Two New Online Publications

Two of my very brief essays were published online this summer. The first was the essay "Telephone," which appeared in June in the online version of The Common, in the journal's "Dispatches" section. The second, "Metaphor Lesson," appeared in August in the online version of River Teeth Journal, in the journal's "Beautiful Things" section. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Now Available: Aeschylus, Oresteia: An Adaptation

Now available from Hero Now Theatre: Aeschylus, Oresteia: An Adaptation by Rob Hardy. Paperback. 72pp. $16.95

In his adaptation of Aeschylus's classic drama, first performed at Carleton College’s Weitz Center Theater in May 2012, Rob Hardy delivers the essence of this famous trilogy in a single play that speaks forcefully to today’s audiences. 

In lean, lyrical poetry, Hardy’s Aeschylus highlights all the glory of the original, including epic tales of lust, war, family strife, and revenge; choruses that echo the religious influences behind Greek drama; and Aeschylus's pride in Athenian law, philosophy, and oratory. 

In his Oresteia Aeschylus gave Athenians reason to believe that institutionalized justice, not revenge, would tame the savagery of human beings. His message resonates in our time, and Hardy’s accessible adaptation is a steadfast modern guide to this ancient wisdom. 

“A heady bouquet of new wine drawn from an old wineskin.” 
—Eric Dugdale (Gustavus Adolphus College), reviewing the 2012 Carleton College production in Didaskalia: The Journal for Ancient Performance 

The book comes with an introduction by Professor of Classics (Emeritus) Thomas Van Nortwick, of Oberlin College, describing the political, social, and aesthetic context of the trilogy, and offering high praise for Hardy’s adept, graceful adaptation. Hardy has added numerous explanatory notes to help the non-specialist with unfamiliar names and concepts, and a map shows the location of important place-names mentioned in the play.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Now Available: Domestication: Collected Poems 1996-2016.

Domestication: Collected Poems 1996-2016. Published February 25, 2017. 

Available now from Shipwreckt Books in Rushford, Minnesota, and from Content Bookstore in Northfield, Minnesota. Also available on Amazon.

"Rob Hardy brings together the wide range of gifts that place him among the few whose common touch makes them exceptional. In work that is at once accessible, enjoyable, and wonderfully well-made Hardy shows, without pretentious display, that poetry is not an outsider’s cryptic game. His poems demonstrate what Henry David Thoreau teaches: that profundity may best be found in simplicity. Hardy gracefully combines his deep knowledge of the ancient classics and his wide interest in scientific learning with his first-hand experience of nature and human relationships." —Emilio DeGrazia

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New Publication: An Essay on Phyllis Bottome (Critical Flame)

Phyllis Bottome was a British novelist, well-known during her lifetime, who observed the rise of Hitler first-hand during the years she lived in Munich in the early 1930s. In essays and in her novel The Mortal Storm, Bottome about the grave threat of European fascism, and of Hitler in general, at a time when the general mood was one of appeasement. My essay in The Critical Flame focuses on her novel The Mortal Storm (1938), and draws some connections with current events in the United States. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Publication: An Essay on Susan Glaspell (Ploughshares)

The current (Winter 2016-2017) issue of Ploughshares includes my essay "'We Live Close Together and We Live far Apart: A Look2 Essay on Susan Glaspell." Susan Glaspell was born in Davenport, Iowa, in 1876. With her husband, she founded the Provincetown Players, the pioneering experimental theater that launched the career of Eugene O'Neill. Her own plays for the Provincetown Players, including the classic Trifles, established her as one of the leading playwright of her day, and one of the founders of modern American theater. In 1931, she became only the second woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. She's less well-known as a novelist. Fidelity (1915) and Brook Evans (1928), reissued by Persephone Books in London, are the only two of her nine novels currently in print. Ploughshares' "Look2" series features essay about neglected authors like Glaspell who deserve a second look. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Literary Events in Northfield: January 13-28

Friday, January 13: Arts for Martin.
The annual celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at Arcadia Charter School. This year's event features art and poetry by Northfield sculptor Mac Gimse. More information here. 7pm. Arcadia Charter School, 1719 Cannon Rd., Northfield.

Sunday, January 15: Writers Resist: Hope is Greater Than Fear.

Thirteen local writers will participate in a “Writers Resist” event on Sunday, Jan. 15, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The “Northfield Writers Resist: Hope is Greater Than Fear” event is scheduled from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Cannon Valley Friends Meetinghouse, 512 Washington St.
Participating writers are Northfield Poet Laureate Rob Hardy, Beth Breiland, Bella Callery, Florence Dacey, Adriana Estill, Doug Green, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Rich Larson, Harmony Neal, Orick Peterson, Joy Riggs, Kaethe Schwehn, and Vicki Scott. The readings will address issues of social justice, freedom of expression, and the preservation of democratic ideals. The event is free and open to the public. A coffee and cookie reception will follow. 
More information about the national organization is available at

Monday, January 16: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration: "Building Bridges of Understanding." 

Northfield Human Rights Commission invites the community to join in a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of the work he did, and the work he continues to inspire us to do in this country.  This year’s celebration will take place on Monday, January 16, 7:00-8:15 pm, at Emmaus Church, 712 Linden Street North.  This event is free and open to everyone in the community.
The program will include poetry by Delina Haileab and Rob Hardy (Northfield Poet Laureate), music by St. Olaf Gospel Choir, thoughts from Lisa Moore, St. Olaf Professor of Social Work, and an open microphone time for the community.
This annual event is also the time when Northfield recognizes work that is being done in the community in the area of human rights.  In 2017 the award is being presented to Father Dennis Dempsey of the Church of St. Dominic.  Fr. Denny is being honored for the caring and support he has provided to our growing Latino community.  In addition we celebrate the numerous individuals and organizations that are involved with supporting the Latino community in so many ways.  Further, with this award we are recognizing the important contributions and vitality the Latinos have added to life in Northfield. 

Thursday, January 19: Project Ghostlight (Northfield Arts Guild Theater)

On Thursday, January 19, 5:30 to 6:15pm, the Northfield Arts Guild Theater will be joining artists and community members across the country in the tradition of leaving a "ghostlight" on in a darkened theater. When theaters go dark at the end of the night, the ghostlight offers visibility and safety for all who might enter. Please JOIN US for a brief program of poetry and monologues as both students and adults reflect on the Arts Guild's mission to inspire our community by developing, supporting, and providing quality inclusive artistic opportunities. Goodies will be served. All are welcome.

Thursday, January 19: Writers Night: A Sense of Place.
The Northfield Poet Laureate is pleased to present “Writers Night: A Sense of Place,” a carefully selected program of poetry and prose by local writers in the new atrium of the Northfield Public Library at 7pm on Thursday, January 19.
Ten writers from Northfield, Faribault, and Webster will read selections on the theme of “a sense of place.” The selections were submitted during the month of December. In early January, a panel of judges made selections from thirty separate poems and short prose pieces in a blind screening process.
Writers included on the program are Sherry Anderson, Becky Boling, Florence Dacey, Bret Farley, Larry Gavin, Doug Green, Margit Johnson, Christine Kallman, Hannah Pahs, Joy Riggs, Julie Ryan, and Leslie Schultz.
Writers Nights were first held in the Northfield Arts Guild beginning in 2003. This revival of Writers Night is sponsored by the Northfield Public Library, with funding from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund made possible by the voters of Minnesota.
Saturday, January 28: Sidewalk Poetry Kick-Off.

Starting at 2pm at the Northfield Public Library, last year's sidewalk poetry winners will read their poems in an event to launch the 2017 Northfield Sidewalk Poetry Competition.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Poem for the First Northfield City Council Meeting of 2017

I thought it would be appropriate to start the year here in the Northfield City Council chambers with a poem in memory of one of the first women elected to public office in Rice County, Molly Woerhlin, who passed away on December 23. Molly was a woman of tough, practical kindness, who left a legacy that enriches all of us in Northfield. As I remember her, and reflect on what she did with her life, I think about how much good we can do with the one life we are given, and how much more good we can do when we join that life with the lives of others.

Northfield, Minnesota
January 3, 2017

Molly’s Daisies
Another year is gone,
taking with it so many cherished lives,
so many dreams that seemed so possible at the start.
It was common in the last days of the year to count our losses,
to share the tally of the year’s cruel subtractions,
as if the only solidarity we could find was in our grief.
Each December day was filled with a little more darkness.
But sometimes we have to make our own light.
Not long after the longest night of the year, I found myself
remembering that unmowed strip of lawn
in front of Molly’s house on Maple Street,
where every summer the daisies bloomed,
and all those common flowers massed together seemed
like a table laid for some kind of sacrament.
I remembered how, in the solitary summers of childhood,
I used to pluck the white petals—she loves me not,
she loves me—as if those petals tallied losses that were the condition of love.
But thinking of Molly and her daisies, I know that love
is what happens when we add our one blossom to the blossoming all around us.

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .