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Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God


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About the Author

Tony Hoagland (1953-2018) was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His father was an Army doctor, and Hoagland grew up on various military bases throughout the South. He taught at the University of Houston and in the low residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. He lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was married to the writer Kathleen Lee. His first collection, Sweet Ruin (1992), won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. His second, Donkey Gospel (1998), won the James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets. The third, What Narcissism Means to Me (2003), was shortlisted for a National Book Circle Critics Award. His first UK book of poems, What Narcissism Means to Me: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2005) drew upon these three collections, and was followed by Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty (2010) and Application for Release from the Dream, published by Graywolf Press in the US in 2015 and by Bloodaxe in Britain in 2016. is final two collections, written over the same period, were a small collection, Recent Changes in the Vernacular (Tres Chicas Press, 2017), and Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God (Graywolf Press, 2018). The Bloodaxe UK edition of Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God (2019) also includes some poems from Recent Changes in the Vernacular. He also published Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft (Graywolf Press, USA, 2006) and Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays (Graywolf Press, USA, 2014). He was given a number of literary honours, including the Jackson Poetry Prize, awarded by Poets & Writers magazine; the Mark Twain Award, given by the Poetry Foundation; and the O.B. Hardison Jr. Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library.


The writing is classic Hoagland: accessible and conversational, sometimes humorous, as he scrutinises everything from a book he's reading to mortality and the emotions that arise when he thinks of the music of Leonard Cohen while sitting in a hospital waiting room... The work raises important questions 'about the hazards of playing at innocence', why our culture can't seem to make progress and why no one seems to recognise the impending environmental crisis. * The Washington Post *
He belongs to that wagon-circle of American poets who believe in a "common reader"...Hoagland is a poet of a ragged, half-satirical, half-lyrical intensity. If Billy Collins is Updike, Hoagland is Salinger, or perhaps Holden Caulfield...making us think we know the ground we are on, then showing us that we don't...For me, he not only pulls the rug from under my feet when it comes to the moral complacencies and platitudes that I don't notice I live by, he does the same with my given poetic certainties. -- Henry Shukman * Poetry London *
Hilarious, searing poems that break your heart so fast you hardly notice you're standing knee deep in a pool of implications. They are of this moment, right now - the present that we're already homesick for. -- Marie Howe

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