Tony Hoagland

Poems by Tony Hoagland

Physiology of Kisses

Mistaken Identity



Tony Hoagland

 “There is nothing escapist or diversionary about Tony Hoagland’s poetry,” says Stephen Young of the Poetry Foundation. Hoagland’s poems explore illness, death, beauty, sexuality, American society, and adolescence by walking straight into the locker room, supermarket, hospital or lesbian bar without looking shamefully at their feet. “There are three of us in the restaurant/ where I have dinner with a friend/ —me, him, and one of those diseases/ known by its initials.” The poem “Appetite,” like many of his poems, speaks to death’s physical appearance and its close proximity to life.
Marie Howe says Hoagland’s What Narcissism Means To Me (Graywolf Press, 2003) includes “hilarious, searing poems that break your heart so fast you hardly notice you’re standing knee deep in a pool of implications.” Each of his poems reveals not only the faults and humility of the poet, but the most popular indiscretions of the American public. “[A]nd if I can say so without sounding patriotic about myself,/there’s something democratic/about being the occasional asshole—/you make a mistake, you apologize/ and everyone else breathes easier.” From kissing a friend’s wife to bathing his mother, Hoagland’s voice is unfaltering and unashamed.
The author of three other volumes of poetry, Sweet Ruin (winner of the Brittingham Prize), Donkey Gospel (winner of the James Laughlin Award), and, most recently, a chapbook entitled Hard Rain, as well the critically acclaimed book of essays Real Sofistikashun, Hoagland is recipient of the 2005 Mark Twain Award from the Poetry Foundation for his use of humor in poetry, the O.B. Hardison Jr. Prize, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Academy of Arts and Letters.
Hoagland received a BA from University of Iowa, an MFA from University of Arizona and a fellowship to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He has been a frequent faculty member of the Warren Wilson MFA Program, and currently teaches at the University of Houston.