First, a terrible loser with NaPoWriMo this year, then an even worse loser with NaPoReMo this year. Although I have actually been reading the two collections I said I would read in June, just not writing about them.
Here, just a couple of lines about Tony Hoagland’s What Narcissm Means To Me. So much of today’s poetry offerings focus on the look and feel of the grain of dust on top of the grain of coffee — real micro-stuff. And yes, I know, from the particular to the general, to the universe through the detail, etc, but one doesn’t realize how much one is squinting and frowning at all the detail and the micro-ness — how much squinting becomes a fact of reading poetry. That is, until one reads poetry that is much wider and bigger — (not sure I should not say, more generous, more unafraid), such as Hoagland’s work in this volume.
Which doesn’t mean he launches off into orbits of abstraction and airy formlessness that make you squint even more. On the contrary.
Just found this interview with him online, where he says:
There was a time when I looked at a scene and saw a man and a woman kissing. Now I am aware that the man has a credit card in his pocket and that just behind the woman a beer commercial is on the tv, interrupting war coverage
Hoagland doesn’t abandon detail, he employs it to convey a wider spectrum of vision.