What all Tony Hoagland's poetry choices have in common is that (among other things) they foster critical thinking, make us think of others, and their themes are applicable far beyond themselves.
Do you have any poems that you feel fit Tony's criteria?
Can they spread themselves out into society, like a healing balm, healing pain or bringing understanding?
If you have any suggestions,
please share them In the comments.
I would love to see what touches your hearts and minds.
- C D Wright
I am your ancestor. You know next-to-nothing about me.
There is no reason for you to imagine the rooms I occupied or my heavy hair. Not the faint vinegar smell of me. Or the rubbered damp of Forrest and I coupling on the landing en route to our detached day.
You didn't know my weariness, error, incapacity. I was the poet
Most Recent Book: Further Adventures with You (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1986)
of shadow work and towns with quarter-inch phone books, of failed roadside zoos. The poet of yard eggs and sharpening shops, jobs at the weapons plant and the Mabelline factory on the penitentiary road.
A poet of spiderwort and jacks-in-the-pulpit, hollyhocks against the tool shed.
An unsmiling dark blond.
The one with the trowel in her handbag.
I dug up protected and private things.
That sort, I was.
My graves went undecorated and my churches abandoned. This wasn't planned, but practice.
I was the poet of short-tailed cats and yellow line paint.
Of satellite dishes and Peterbilt trucks. Red Man Chewing Tobacco, Black Cat Fireworks, Triple Hit Creme Soda. Also of dirt dobbers, nightcrawlers, martin houses, honey, and whetstones from the Novaculite Uplift. What remained of The Uplift.
I had registered dogs 4 sale; rocks, shit, and straw.
I was a poet of hummingbird hives along with redheaded stepbrothers.
The poet of good walking shoes—a necessity in vernacular parts—and push mowers. The rumor that I was once seen sleeping in a refrigerator box is false (he was a brother who hated me).
Nor was I the one lunching at the Governor's mansion.
I didn't work off a grid. Or prime the surface if I could get off without it. I made simple music out of sticks and string. On side B of me, experimental guitar, night repairs and suppers such as this.
You could count on me to make a bad situation worse like putting liquid make-up over a passion mark.
I never raised your rent. Or anyone else's by God. Never said I loved you. The future gave me chills. I used the medium to say: Arise arise and come together.
Free your children. Come on everybody. Let's start with Baltimore.
Believe me I am not being modest when I admit my life doesn't bear repeating. I agreed to be the poet of one life, one death alone. I have seen myself in the black car. I have seen the retreat of the black car.
Imagining a renewed role for poetry in the national discourse, and a new canon.
by Tony Hoagland.
Here are TONY HOAGLAND’S twenty poems: Twenty-First. Night. Monday., by Anna Akhmatova God’s Justice, by Anne Carson memory, by Lucille Clifton A Man and a Woman, by Alan Feldman America, by Allen Ginsberg Bamboo and a Bird, by Linda Gregg A Sick Child, by Randall Jarrell Black People & White People Were Said, by Kerry Johannsen Topography, by Sharon Olds Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car, by Dan Pagis Merengue, by Mary Ruefle Ballad of Orange and Grape, by Muriel Rukeyser Waiting for Icarus, by Muriel Rukeyser American Classic, by Louis Simpson The Geraniums, by Genevieve Taggard Song of Speaks-Fluently, by Speaks-Fluently Traveling Through The Dark, by William Stafford When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, by Walt Whitman Our Dust, by C. D. Wright