If you are lucky in this life, you will get to help your enemy the way I got to help my mother when she was weakened past the point of saying no. Into the big enamel tub half-filled with water which I had made just right, I lowered the childish skeleton she had become. Her eyelids fluttered as I soaped
Born on November 19, 1953, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Tony Hoagland authored witty, poingnant poems that comment on contemporary American life and culture.
His books of poetry include Unincorporated Personas in the Late Honda Dynasty (Graywolf Press, 2010); What Narcissism Means to Me (2003), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Donkey Gospel (1998), which received the James Laughlin Award; and Sweet Ruin (1992), chosen by Donald Justice for the 1992 Brittingham Prize in Poetry and winner of the Zacharis Award from Emerson College.
Hoagland's other honors and awards include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the O. B. Hardison Prize for Poetry and Teaching from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the 2008 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers magazine, as well as the Poetry Foundation's 2005 Mark Twain Award in recognition of his contribution to humor in American poetry.
In 2002, the American Academy of Arts and Letters praised the poet's work with a citation stating, "Tony Hoagland's imagination ranges thrillingly across manners, morals, sexual doings, kinds of speech both lyrical and candid, intimate as well as wild."
He taught at the University of Houston and Warren Wilson College. He died of pancreatic cancer on October 23, 2018.