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Real Sofistikashun

Essays on Poetry and Craft
Tony Hoagland
Tony Hoagland recently won The Poetry Foundation's Mark Twain Award, recognizing a poet's contribution to humor in American poetry, and also the Folger Shakespeare Library's O. B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize, the only major award that honors a poet's excellence in teaching as well as writing. Real Sofistikashun, from the title onward, uses Hoagland's signature and complementary abilities to entertain and to instruct while he examines and exposes how poems behave and how they are made.

In these taut, illuminating essays, Hoagland explores aspects of poetic craft--metaphor, tone, rhetorical and compositional strategies--with the vigorous, conversational style less of the scholar than of the serious enthusiast and practitioner. Poets such as Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Larry Levis, William Matthews, and Robert Pinsky are studied for their examples, and essays on fragmentation and the uses of experimental methods describe innovative modes in the contemporary period style. Throughout, Hoagland points out the winning complexities of the poetic art, which connects us with verve and economy to experience--to our internal understanding, to the templates of human nature, and to the facts of the world at large.

Hoagland is the rare poet who is as readable and enjoyable in critical prose as he is in poetry. Real Sofistikashun is an exciting, humorous, and provocative collection of essays, as pleasurable a book as it is useful.

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The anticipated first collection of essays by celebrated poet Tony Hoagland, author of What Narcissism Means to Me

About the Author

Tony  Hoagland
Credit: Elizabeth Jacobson
Tony Hoagland is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God, Application for Release from the Dream and What Narcissism Means to Me, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of two collections of essays, Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays and Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft. He teaches at the University of Houston and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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  • “Generous, humane, and inoffensively learned.”—American Book Review
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