The most concise array of observations about humanity that I have ever seen blended into one book of poetry. This collection is stunning; since its release in 2015, it has offered a swift kick in the gut to everyone with whom I've shared it, and an intense, immediate declaration, "this is good." Impossible to pass up; dark, beautiful and perfect, you'll reread it many times.— a.c.
One of the most gorgeously skilled contemporary poets, Hoagland’s book is the equal and opposite of Gerstler’s in a way. These poems also vividly appreciate life and connection, but **oooh boy** they are rough to read, because they appreciate the best of life as it is set against the backdrop of existential void. Did that make sense? Listen, I love this book.— a.c.
The eagerly awaited, brilliant, and engaging new poems by Tony Hoagland, author of What Narcissism Means to Me
The parade for the slain police officer
goes past the bakery
and the smell of fresh bread
makes the mourners salivate against their will.
—from "Note to Reality"
Are we corrupt or innocent, fragmented or whole? Are responsibility and freedom irreconcilable? Do we value memory or succumb to our forgetfulness? Application for Release from the Dream, Tony Hoagland's fifth collection of poems, pursues these questions with the hobnailed abandon of one who needs to know how a citizen of twenty-first-century America can stay human. With whiplash nerve and tender curiosity, Hoagland both surveys the damage and finds the wonder that makes living worthwhile. Mirthful, fearless, and precise, these poems are full of judgment and mercy.
“Few [poets] deliver more pure pleasure. His erudite comic poems are backloaded with heartache and longing, and they function, emotionally, like improvised explosive devices.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times on Tony Hoagland
“Tony Hoagland is a provocateur, a brash interventionist, a deeply engaged Whitmanian poet and critic who poses, like the master, as ‘one of the roughs.'” —Edward Hirsch on Tony Hoagland