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Book Title

Turn Up the Ocean

Author 1
Tony Hoagland
Poem Excerpt
The world is a Gorgon.
It presents its thousand ugly heads.
Death or madness to look at it too long
but your job
is not to conquer it;
not to provide entertaining repartee,
nor to revile yourself in shame.
Your job is to stay calm.
Your job is to watch and take notes,
to go on looking.
Your job is to not be turned into stone.
—from “Gorgon”
Over the course of his celebrated career, Tony Hoagland ventured fearlessly into the unlit alleys of emotion and experience. The poems in Turn Up the Ocean examine with an unflinching eye and mordant humor the reality of living and dying in a time and culture that conspire to erase our inner lives. Hoagland’s signature wit and unparalleled observations take in longstanding injustices, the atrocities of American empire and consumerism, and our ongoing habit of looking away. In these poems, perseverance depends on a gymnastics of skepticism and comedy, a dogged quest for authentic connection, and the consolations of the natural world. Turn Up the Ocean is a remarkable and moving collection, a fitting testament to Hoagland’s devotion to the capaciousness and art of poetry.

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6 x 9
The final book of poems by Tony Hoagland, “one of the most distinctive voices of our time” (Carl Dennis)

About the Author

Tony  Hoagland
Credit: Elizabeth Jacobson
Tony Hoagland was the author of seven collections of poetry, including Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God, What Narcissism Means to Me, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Donkey Gospel, winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. He was 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 received the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers, the Mark Twain Award from the Poetry Foundation, and the O. B. Hardison, Jr. Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library. He taught for many years at the University of Houston. Hoagland died in October 2018.
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  • “[Turn Up the Ocean] is a testament of prescient psalms from beyond the beyond. . . . Over and over, Hoagland returns to an elastic tool kit of metaphors: the red lights of a squad car (his complicity in his white privilege); ocean sounds (other possible lives); and the hyperobject of his gratitude, which is too vast, too wonderful, to define.”—Horace D. Ballard, Artforum's “Best Books of 2022”
  • “This collection will stand as a fitting capstone to a stellar poetic career.”—Library Journal
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