“A really good poem,” writes Hoagland, “is the poem which breaks through the television screen into the world and reminds the reader that reading or listening is not a safe, living-room-lazy-boy-museum-tea-party experience, but that poetry is about open heart surgery, being woken up, or taken somewhere unexpected and dangerous.”
Like Walt Whitman, Tony Hoagland investigates selfhood, manhood, and America; like Frank O’Hara, he does so with immense wit, vernacular, and vulnerability.
What Narcissism Means to Me (2003), Tony Hoagland’s most recent book, has been characterized as “disarming” by the New York Times Book Review, “and as sharp-edged and ambitious” by the Los Angeles Times Book Review. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Hoagland turns heartache into poetry so beautiful it makes you crave melancholy.” Tony Hoagland’s second collection, Donkey Gospel (1998), won the 1997 James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and his first, Sweet Ruin (1992), won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. He teaches at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson College M.F.A. program in North Carolina.