Professor receives award for poetry
Poet, essayist and UH English professor Tony Hoagland received the Jackson Poetry Prize in April. The award recognizes talented writers of lesser fame and boasts national exposure as well as $50,000.
UH Creative Writing Program Director James Kastely said it is not the awards that drive Hoagland, but achieving a higher level of poetry.
"The value of this award is that more people will know of his work," Kastely said.
Hoagland, who has been a UH professor for five years, has authored three volumes of poetry and a collection of critical essays.
"It’s a combination of, first of all, being very smart; second of all, caring deeply about poetry; and third, having a rigor to him," Kastely said on why he thinks Hoagland is an exceptional professor.
"He really asks what a particular word is doing, what a particular sentence is doing. What students get from Tony is someone who is very smart and very knowledgably taking his work very seriously."
As a writer, Hoagland’s poems are described as witty, ironic and intelligent. The Jackson Poetry Prize judges called him a risk-taker.
"He’s well read in poetry, he cares deeply about language and he’s very interested in the human condition," Kastely said. "Those three things lead to certain kinds of poems. There’s a way in which, because he examines things carefully, he writes better poems."
Hoagland, the son of an Army doctor, grew up around the world on several military bases, and his unstable youth gave way to a singular style of poetry and an even more notable personality.
"As a poet and person, Tony’s real present and there’s a strong sense of a wit about him," Kastely said. "At the same time, there’s a real serious passion for poetry. There’s a combination of having a man handling things lightly, and at the same time being serious with poetry and the written word."