Tony Hoagland Reads at Inprint

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Gustav Mahler – Quarter for Piano and Strings in A Minor

It’s a classical kind of day today, and Mahler is one of my favorite composers.  This one is brilliantly performed. Enjoy.

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Poem: Jorie Graham, Over and Over Stitch

Over and Over Stitch


Late in the season the world digs in, the fat blossoms
hold still for just a moment longer.
Nothing looks satisfied,
but there is no real reason to move on much further:
this isn’t a bad place;
why not pretend
we wished for it?
The bushes have learned to live with their haunches.
The hydrangea is resigned
to its pale and inconclusive utterances.
Towards the end of the season
it is not bad
to have the body. To have experienced joy
as the mere lifting of hunger
is not to have known it
less. The tobacco leaves
don’t mind being removed
to the long racks—all uses are astounding
to the used.
There are moments in our lives which, threaded, give us heaven—
noon, for instance, or all the single victories
of gravity, or the kudzu vine,
most delicate of manias,
which has pressed its luck
this far this season.
It shines a gloating green.
Its edges darken with impatience, a kind of wind.
Nothing again will ever be this easy, lives
being snatched up like dropped stitches, the dry stalks of daylilies
marking a stillness we can’t keep.

Jorie Graham, “Over and Over Stitch” from The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems, 1974-1994. Copyright © 1995 by Jorie Graham. Reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Solidarity Forever – Happy May Day

Remember to have a drink for those killed fighting Capitalist oppression, and those who have (and had) the courage to stand up for their humanity.  Know your power.

Classic Labor Song by Pete Seeger:

And more recent one from The Clash:

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Tycho – Dive (Full Album)

As the spring semester winds down, I’m pushing through work: writing poems, papers, and grading student work.  I am very grateful to peaceful music to provide a kind of texture to the silence.  This is the album that’s doing it for me currently.  Onward and upward–


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It’s that time again to publish a poem of mine.  This poem comes from the inaugural Spring 2014 issue of Isthmus, a literary review.  This may just be my biased opinion, but I think the issue is excellent, with strong poetry and prose.  You can purchase the journal HERE.


I get out of bed this morning to find oceans
falling outside, tiny ones, smaller than my pinky nail
but still containing all the world
inside them, or so they say.
In this weather, I keep putting things together
and sending them off, typed and binder-clipped,
and all I can hope is that they get where they’re going
before they all fall apart again
and I disappear from the pages.
Today, though, I’m sending nothing into the world,
not even myself.
I won’t venture out beneath the water
shooting down like a tiny tragic Daedalus
a million times over.  Today,
I’ll stay inside and make my apartment a mirror
of all that water: open the windows
and invite the rain in and pour a thousand cups of tea.
Drink up, I’ll tell the rain,
it’s only getting colder out there.
I’ll draw a bath a leave the faucet on
until the water’s sliding across the floor
and soaking into the carpet, and when I’ve drenched
the whole place and have my own little sea,
I’ll lie face-up in the waves
between the couch and the TV and drift for a while,
bobbing in the ocean I’ve made.  I’ll hold onto my books,
floating like buoys, and realize they’ve always been my buoys,
in this ocean and all the other ones, too.


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Tony Hoagland – From This Height

From This Height


Cold wind comes out of the white hills
and rubs itself against the walls of the condominium
with an esophogeal vowel sound,
and a loneliness creeps
into the conversation by the hot tub.
We don’t deserve pleasure
just as we don’t deserve pain,
but it’s pure sorcery the way the feathers of warm mist
keep rising from the surface of the water
to wrap themselves around a sculpted
clavicle or wrist.
It’s not just that we are on
the eighth story of the world
looking out through glass and steel
with a clarity of vision
in which imported coffee and
a knowledge of French painting
                                              are combined,
but that we are atop a pyramid
of all the facts that make this possible:
the furnace that heats the water,
the truck that hauled the fuel,
the artery of highway
blasted through the mountains,
the heart attack of the previous owner,
the history of Western medicine
that failed to save him,
the successful development of tourism,
the snow white lotions that counteract the chemistry
of chlorine upon skin—our skin.
Down inside history’s body,
the slaves are still singing in the dark;
the roads continue to be built;
the wind blows and the building grips itself
in anticipation of the next strong gust.
So an enormous act of forgetting is required
simply to kiss someone
or to open your mouth
for the fork of high-calorie paté
someone is raising to your lips,
which, considering the price,
it would be a sin
not to enjoy.

Tony Hoagland, “From This Height” from Donkey Gospel. Copyright © 1998 by Tony Hoagland. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota,

Source: Donkey Gospel (1998) 


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