Tony hoagland poetry essay

Cain is another of those deeply-rich symbols, like being down on your knees. And, like knee symbology, we have many ways to go with it. But why should Cain be bitter?


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He was the cause, not the victim. Maybe, even causes suffer. Maybe even Cain deserves compassion. Watch out for those people.

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Chances are, they sell the mess, but never have to step in it. Makes it easier to live neatly. Main menu Skip to content.


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In between, not so hidden among other appreciations and critiques, I find, to my own surprise, a recurring complaint about the lack of adulthood represented in much new American poetry. The presence of this theme surprises me because I am an ardent believer in poetical irreverence, spontaneity, informality, and subversion of decorum — qualities not usually associated with maturity. Though it was not a conscious agenda in writing these essays, I nonetheless stand by my complaint.

I believe that poetry has a role to play in contemporary American culture, and that it has lately retreated from that risk, that faith, and that opportunity. Tony Hoagland, Preface. Without a discernible emphasis, without some hint of authorial allegiance assigned to some moments in the poem over others, we cannot begin the process of response. We need to be able to identify what and where the stakes are in a poem ; where the gravity, or weight, is located.

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Similarly, without a reciprocal relationship between a poem and a reader, that is, a relationship that deepens through responsiveness and rereading, one of the most basic reasons for poetry has been inexplicably abandoned. At that point, virtuosity, verbal facility, and intelligence are beside the point. If the poem does not need the reader, the reader does not need the poem. What kind of poem is this? How big is the whole?


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Where is the center? What is the central element? Am I reading for sound, sense, story, or image? Is this image centrally significant? What is the general perspective or tone? What are the extraneous or secondary parts? Like this: Like Loading Of course there is a time of afternoon, out there in the yard, an hour that has never been described. There is a gap you never noticed, dug out between the gravel and the rock, where something lives.

There is a bird that can only be heard by someone who has come to be alone. Now you are getting used to things that will not be happening again.

[Suggestion] | Twenty Little Poems That Could Save America, by Tony Hoagland | Harper's Magazine

Complete poem available online at The Sun. Post to Cancel. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Curiosity is what makes great critics, not empire building or intellectual intimidation.

The good ones teach us how to teach ourselves. But I feel lucky to have had the education in ecstasy they provided.

Tony Hoagland

And they are still alive, like real art is. BB: I know you encourage continual development over the course of a poet's career. What are some of the aesthetic challenges that you faced down? How does this compare to your earlier work?

In the new book—in some of the poems at least—I am trying to record the layered simultaneous dimensions of experience without hysteria, and without an ultimate judgment aside from "This is How it IS. TH: Yes, that's a good observation itself. The manifold world is our rescuer from the bottomless implosion of subjectivity and psychology.

The external world, especially nature, is beyond us, beneath us and above us, and more real than us; thus it is a life preserver. To look closely is always to lose self-importance.

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Essay: Writing Race– Tony Hoagland’s “The Change”

Wonder is the drug of choice for the discriminating user. Good question, grasshopper. Thank you. She's currently a PhD candidate at the University of Houston, where she serves as an assistant poetry editor for Gulf Coast. Skip to main content.

Tony Hoagland, poet and revered UH professor, is dead at 64

Search form Search. Advanced Search. My Account Cart 0. Guest Article by:. Application for Release from the Dream: Poems Paperback. By Tony Hoagland. Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st,