Buddhist Religious Advisor Mark D. Hart has published his first book of poetry, Boy Singing to Cattle (Pearl, 2013). He will give a public reading, sponsored by Religious Life and the Department of English, on Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115).

“I began writing poetry in 2003, upon the death of my father,” Hart explains, “and the book is both a sustained reflection upon death and a memoir in poetry of experiences growing up on a farm in the Palouse region of eastern Washington State. The poetry also depicts how that connection with the land continues in rural New England. The central metaphor of the book is agricultural—farming as a way to understand life and death.”

The collection was honored with the 2011 Pearl Poetry Prize. “It is remarkable for its wisdom, for the generosity of its spirit,” said contest judge Andrea Carter Brown. “These poems continue to haunt me—in their grittiness, their loveliness, their eloquence; for the heart which informs every poem. Boy Singing to Cattle renews and refreshes the tradition of poetry about the land and those who live from it in ways I would not have thought possible in the 21st century.”

In addition to his role as religious advisor and leader of meditation classes at Amherst, Hart is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice, the guiding teacher for the Bodhisara Dharma Community of Western Massachusetts and a teacher at the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley in Easthampton, Mass. He holds a master’s degree in counseling from Seattle University and a doctorate in theology from Boston College.