Synopses & Reviews
“Unlike too many poets who tumble into print at the first twitch of feeling, Michael Ryan takes time to listen to himself, and such listening contributes immeasurably to the subtlety of his address to the reader . . . [He] reminds us on every page that poems can be about lives, and about them in ways most urgent and delicate.” —William H. Pritchard, The Nation
“The twin ancient powers of poetry are story and song,” Michael Ryan said in a recent interview. “I like a lot of both.” And both are here in This Morning in glorious abundance: graceful complex narratives and tight formal lyrics, edgy humor, affecting music, and insistent clarity always in the service of the heart. He can be deeply funny and extremely moving, often at the same time. No other living poet possesses Ryans range of tone and technique in rendering the great subjects of art and life: sex, mortality, loss, and love (both conjugal and paternal). Even his most apparently autobiographical writing penetrates to the universal subject within it. Like Dickinson in her poetry, his personal life interests him primarily as an instance of human life. His artistic discipline is thus a spiritual discipline, and the vital spirit infusing these poems rises from the depths of isolation transformed by the joy of loving other people persistently and generously. This Morning is the work of a contemporary American master.
"Hoagland's fourth collection finds him cynically observing America during and after the Bush presidency. The speaker of these poems is deeply disheartened by his country and his own complacence, though far from unable to churn up good-natured jokes out of the mess. 'After I heard Its a Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall/ played softly by an accordion quartet/ through the ceiling speakers at the Springsdale Shopping Mall, / I understood there's nothing/ we cant pluck the stinger from,' opens "Hard Rain." Near the end of the same poem, Hoagland admits, 'I used to think I was not part of this, / that I could mind my own business and get along, // but that was just another song.' Hoagland has much in common with the popular Billy Collins — a sharp, if deadpan, wit; accessible, almost prosey lines; a penchant for self-consciously drawing the reader's attention to the artifice of the poem — but with a more musically attuned ear and a darker outlook: 'I was driving home that afternoon/ in some dilated condition of sensitivity/ of the kind known only to certain poets/ and more or less everybody else.' At his best, Hoagland is capable of showing us how truly marvelous our marvelous punishment can be.(Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"Hoagland has fun in these poems but always in service to a smart and insightful notion....These poems are meant to shake up an already shaken world. But then, 'this is no/ ordinary snowglobe.'" Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Hoagland’s poems... are so fully alive to the rich, dark depths of their grumpiness that they constantly threaten, against their author’s gimlet-eyed better judgment, to become beautiful." New York Times Book Review
The new poetry collection by Tony Hoagland, the award-winning author of What Narcissism Means To Me
and Donkey Gospel
In Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty, Tony Hoagland is deep inside a republic that no longer offers reliable signage, in which comfort and suffering are intimately entwined, and whose citizens gasp for oxygen without knowing why. With Hoagland's trademark humor and social commentary, these poems are exhilarating for their fierce moral curiosity, their desire to name the truth, and their celebration of the resilience of human nature.
The new poetry collection by the award-winning author of What Narcissism Means to Me. With Hoagland's trademark humor and social commentary, these poems are exhilarating for their fierce moral curiosity and their celebration of the resilience of human nature.
The new poetry collection by Tony Hoagland, the award-winning author of What Narcissim Means To Me and Donkey Gospel
In Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty, Tony Hoagland is deep inside a republic that no longer offers reliable signage, in which comfort and suffering are intimately entwined, and whose citizens gasp for oxygen without knowing why. With Hoaglands trademark humor and social commentary, these poems are exhilarating for their fierce moral curiosity, their desire to name the truth, and their celebration of the resilience of human nature.
Love, sex, pain, compassion, mortality—the great subjects of art and life—are treated in fresh and immediate ways by the award-winning Michael Ryan in This Morning. Pulling from the ancient powers of story and song, this masterful poet delivers a collection that is at times dark, funny, and absurd, but poignant and uncompromising the whole way through.
About the Author
Tony Hoagland is the author of three poetry collections, including What Narcissism Means to Me, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Donkey Gospel, winner of the James Laughlin Award. He teaches at the University of Houston.
Table of Contents
Sixtieth-Birthday Dinner 3
A Cartoon of Hurt 4
Airplane Food 6
I Had a Tapeworm 11
Fucked Up 13
Half Mile Down 15
No Warning No Reason 18
Hard Times 19
My Young Mother 20
Odd Moment 21
In the Mirror 23
The Dog 29
Garbage Truck 35
The Daily News 37
Melanoma Clinic Infusion Center Waiting Area 42
Open Window Truck Noise 3 A.M. 44
Here I Am 46
A Round 48
Ill Wind 51
Against Which 55
Very Hot Day 56
Petting Zoo 61
Campus Vagrant 64
This Morning 66
Happy Anniversary 69
Miss Joy 71
Girls Middle School Orchestra 75