A Buoyant, Mischievous, Deep and Unsettling Writer: Tony Hoagland to Present the 2012 Silverman Reading

Release Date: November 13, 2012 This content is archived.


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Acclaimed poet and essayist Tony Hoagland will present the 2012 Oscar Silverman Poetry Reading on Nov. 16.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Award-winning American poet and essayist Tony Hoagland, whose distinctive work has been cited for its "...generous effervescence and a jujitsu cleverness" will present the University at Buffalo's 2012 Oscar Silverman Poetry Reading Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. in 250 Baird Hall.

The reading is free of charge and open to the public.

Hoagland speaks to inevitable human emotions and of feelings too uncomfortable for us to acknowledge. Because his language is unusually accessible, his topics common, his imagery all too familiar, he is able to seduce the reader into meeting their own unfamiliar -- and unnerving -- feelings.

Dwight Garner, writing in The New York Times, said, "Few (poets) deliver more pure pleasure. (Hoagland's) erudite comic poems are back-loaded with heartache and longing, and they function, emotionally, like improvised explosive devices: the pain comes at you from the cruelest angles, on the sunniest of days. . . . Listen up, cats: This plain, unincorporated, free-range American poet is one you'll want to know about."

The poem "Brave World" from "Donkey Gospel" offers an example of one of Hoagland's startling and engaging poetic perspectives as it presents the cancer cell, the virus, as characters we might understand, even embrace, in the gentle analogous contexts in which he presents them.

Carl Dennis, SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet in his own right, says, "His powerful lyric poems are situated in the world we live in, the one described in the daily news. They pointedly address problems, fears and points of view that confront us every day of our lives. His work is intense and wide-ranging, but also very witty and quite moving, a combination not common in American poetry."

Hoagland's 2003 poetry collection "What Narcissism Means to Me" was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His many other honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, the 2006 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets and Writers and the 1997 James Laughlin Award from The Academy of American Poets.

His work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, Ploughshares, Agni, Threepenny Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ninth Letter, Southern Indiana Review, American Poetry Review and Harvard Review.

Hoagland has written three full-length poetry collections, including "The Donkey Gospel" (1998) and "Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty" (2010), as well as "Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft" (2006), all from Graywolf Press.

The annual Oscar Silverman Reading is presented in honor of the late distinguished scholar and teacher who chaired the UB Department of English from 1955 to 1963.

From 1960 to 1968, Silverman also directed and greatly expanded the University Libraries and was instrumental in acquiring materials for UB's world-class collection of 20th-century poetry, in particular its Robert Graves Collection, the manuscripts of Wyndham Lewis and the James Joyce Collection, which has evolved into what is widely considered the finest Joyce collection in the world.

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