Tony Hoagland, 1953–2018
October 26, 2018
On Tuesday, October 23, the poet, essayist, and teacher Tony Hoagland passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after a lengthy struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 64.
A professor of creative writing at the University of Houston since 2004, Hoagland was the author of seven poetry collections, most recently Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God, which was published this year by Graywolf Press. His other collections include Sweet Ruin, Donkey Gospel, and What Narcissism Means to Me, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was also the author of essays on poets and poetry, collected in Real Sofistikashun and Twenty Poems That Could Save America, and a frequent contributor to AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle.
In an article for the Houston Chronicle, Hoagland’s longtime editor at Graywolf, Jeff Shotts, said, “He gave us a fierce, sometimes ugly, but ultimately redeemable portrait of America… He pointed his acerbic wit most directly at himself as a blunt instrument of self-scrutiny and satire.” While, in a review of Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty for the New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote, “His erudite comic poems are backloaded 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.”
Hoagland is survived by his partner, the writer Kathleen Lee, and by a brother, Christopher.
Image Credit: Kathleen Lee