When Famous Poets Get Lost…

It's a sad feeling, watching a poet you like slowly transform into a poet you like a little less. Or into a poet that's a bit more mortal than believed. Or maybe into a poet that's cashing in on his own capital, cannibal-like, over time. The classic example nowadays is Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate … Continue reading When Famous Poets Get Lost…


Cold Comfort: Poems That Make the Big-Time

Reading published poems--especially poems published in the heavyweight division, where you find periodicals like The New Yorker--can be both frustrating and edifying. Before I count the ways, let me share a poem published in the The New Yorker's Aug. 28th issue: SON by Craig Morgan Teicher I don't even know where my father lives. I … Continue reading Cold Comfort: Poems That Make the Big-Time

Be a Man!

What does it mean to be a man? In its way, as fascinating a topic as the age-old muse of many a poet: death. I was struck by this thought while reading Tony Hoagland's 1998 collection (for the first time!), Donkey Gospel. While in the book, wondering if the title had anything to do with … Continue reading Be a Man!

Tony Hoagland’s America: Look Familiar?

If you're tired of empty phrases like "Build a Wall" and "Make America Great Again," you might consider Tony Hoagland's America for respite. At least you'd be a realist, and at most a decent judge of political poetry. Tony Hoagland's view of America is subtle, though. No in-your-face pronouncements. Just creative and philosophical riffs that … Continue reading Tony Hoagland’s America: Look Familiar?