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As a devotee of Tony Hoagland, I am very happy that he has a new book out, (Tattered Cover better have it in stock, or I will be peeved!). And what I most love about Hoagland are the things that Joel Brouwer, in the New York Times Book Review, seems to diss on.
So Hoagland doesn’t rhyme, or write in a quantifiable cadence. He is, seemingly, a student of W.C. Williams “variable foot”–which imitates real, American, speeech. Which makes his poems read like the dramatic monologues from a weird kind of thinking Mr. Everyman. His speaker is the kind of guy who will read Baudelaire and watch the SuperBowl, perhaps even in the same day.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
P.S. For what it’s worth, I must say here that Hoagland’s earlier book of poetry has the best title ever: What Narcissism Means to Me.