Sunday, February 7, 2010

Poetry shopping list: new Hoagland book

Tony Hoagland has a new book of poems out. Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty came out earlier this month via Graywolf Press.

The book's review in the New York Times begins, "There are 15 or 20 better poets in America than Tony Hoagland, but few deliver more pure pleasure." I agree, to a point. Though I guess it depends on who those 15-20 poets are. The point is, Hoagland has written some damn fine poems -- some of my favorites, actually. And yet I wouldn't go so far as to say he's "the best." But I can say I like him more than most others. Besides, it's all so subjective. What does it mean to be "better" than Tony Hoagland? (How to be "worse" than him is less difficult to imagine.)

And so it is that whenever people ask who my favorite poets are I always include Hoagland in my list. Truth be told, I saw him read once and he came across as rather unlikable. Still, there's a lot to like about his poems, and I'm looking forward to getting (and reading) Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty

In addition to this new book, Hoagland also apparently put out a chapbook via The Hollyridge Press Chapbook Series called Little Oceans last year. Sadly I didn't get the memo. More catching up to do.

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