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Application for Release from the Dream: Poems

by Tony Hoagland

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i enjoy Tony Hoagland's poetry. I started with his exceptional What Narcissism Means to Me ("No longer do I live by the law of me,/ No longer having the excuse of youth or craziness,/ And dying you know shows a serious ingratitude/ For sunsets and beehive hairdos and the precious green corrugated/ Pickles they place at the edge of your plate"). This new one, Application for Release from the Dream, is another standout. He's a playful poet, and there's a wistfulness here for what has been lost both personally (particularly his failed marriage) and more widely. In his "Ode to the Republic", he sees the positive in America's diminished stature - "It's good to be unimportant . . . There are worse things than being/ second burrito".

On the personal level, "a third choice exists/ between resignation and/ going around the bend . . ." That choice may be accepting our and the world's limitations. "What kind of idiot would think he even had a destiny?"

"The flaring force of this thing we call identity
as if it were a message, a burning coal

one carries in one’s mouth for sixty years,
for delivery
to whom, exactly; to where?”

He takes his own measure with a glint of humor: "All those years I kept trying and failing and trying/ to find my one special talent in this life--/ Why did it take me so long to figure out/ that my special talent was trying?"

Try reading some Tony Hoagland poetry. ( )
  jnwelch | Jun 22, 2016 |
This wonderfully intelligent book explore some of the most pressing issues facing America today: egotism, capitalism, race and the modern definition of love. His acerbic wit and aggressive intellect proves a fantastic combination for this style of poetry. Unequivocally brilliant, Hoagland provides a masterclass in poetry in less than 100 pages. ( )
  annapembroke | Jun 17, 2016 |
Here are my favorites: Crazy Motherfucker Weather, Reasons to Be Happy, White Writer, Controlled Substances, The Social Life of Water, and, But the Men. ( )
  handy1 | Feb 22, 2016 |
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