Poet Tony Hoagland dies at 64

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Tony Hoagland
Poet Tony Hoagland has died at age 64. His collection "What Narcissism Means to Me" was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Courtesy Graywolf Press

Poet Tony Hoagland has died at age 64.

Hoagland was known for writing poetry that was beautiful but also critical of American culture and consumerism. His collection "What Narcissism Means to Me" was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Editor Jeff Shotts at Graywolf Press, the Minneapolis firm that published Hoagland, said the poet "could be a ferociously loyal friend, a demanding teacher, and a great believer in beauty and the healing power of art." Graywolf published Hoagland's seventh book of poetry, "Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God," earlier this year.

"Tony Hoagland gave us a fierce, sometimes ugly, but ultimately redeemable portrait of America in his poetry and essays," Shotts reflected. "I believe he wanted to give us many voices as a way into social and political critique, and he pointed his acerbic wit most directly at himself as a blunt instrument of self-scrutiny and satire.

"Tony was often a famous contrarian, and his poetry and criticism are known for picking fights and taking stands and not shying from the flaws of human nature and experience. He was a great talker, a great wit, and there has been no one quite like him in contemporary American poetry."

Hoagland died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Santa Fe, N.M.

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