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Tag Archives: Tony Hoagland

Narrowing It Down

Recently a friend challenged me to post 7 favorite books on Facebook.  Being an inveterate list maker,  I liked this task.  But it is surprisingly hard to narrow a lifetime of books down to seven favorites.  Here is a list of nine – I posted the first seven.

John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Jane Kenyon, Collected Poems

Lee Smith, Oral History

Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

Margaret Atwood, Life Before Man

It occurred to me that my list is lily-white, though it does include books by 2 Brits and 2 southerners.  For poetry I would add books by Richard Hugo, Audre Lord, Derek Walcott, Nikki Giovanni, Tony Hoagland, William Stafford………..I could go on, but I won’t.  (I’m not including any of the fine poetry books published by Moon Pie Press, but there are a lot to choose from.)  I’m always interested in lists like “The 50 best novels ever written”, or “The 25 best movies you’ve never seen” or “100 books to read before you die”, etc.  Sometimes the lists seem too arbitrary and even lame, but often I get good ideas.  My personal reading challenge for 2018 is 125 books, and I’m at 90 right now on August 20.  I wish you all happy reading.books crucial

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An August poem

I’ve been enjoying a wonderful, irreverent book of contemporary quotations about poets and poetry called QUOTE POET UNQUOTE, edited by Dennis O’Driscoll. Some samples (more to come in later posts):
“The making of a poem ought to be a sprinkling of words and experiences with gunpowder and throwing a match in.” — Michael Milburn
“Any good poem is an act of taming the savage or savaging the tame.” — Tony Hoagland
“Writing comes to be associated with the outlaw parts of the self, but one really needs an orderly, bourgeous life to get work done.” — Robert Hass
“Poems are never made out of 100% good will and good tidings. There is always a little cold wind in a good poem.” — George Szirtes

Midsummer, Tobago               by Derek Walcott

Broad sun-stoned beaches.

White heat.
A green river.

A bridge,
scorched yellow palms

from the summer-sleeping house
drowsing through August.

Days I have held,
days I have lost,

days that outgrow, like daughters,
my harbouring arms.