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DONKEY GOSPEL by Tony Hoagland


by Tony Hoagland

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-55597-268-3
Publisher: Graywolf

Winner of a new award in James Laughlin’s honor, this second book by the New Mexico State writing professor is an uncomplicated series of autobiographical poems about being a guy, from backslapping tales of sexual exploits to the dark and dirty truths of male animalism. Despite the poet’s feminist anxieties, he’s proud of belonging to the —tribe of predators— and celebrates his first steps towards manliness in poems such as —Dickhead— and —Muy Macho,— in which —deep-voiced woman- fuckers— scratch themselves and worry about their penis size. In —Adam and Eve,— he confronts his violent tendencies—his desire to slug a woman in the face for denying him sex—and elsewhere deals with his homophobia by sleeping with a man (—Lie Down with a Man—) and going to a lesbian bar (—Mistaken Identity—). Apologetic for being cerebral, Hoagland pays homage to Auden and D.H. Lawrence in poems that recognize one’s —powerful vocabulary— and the other’s ability to —fight, and fuck, and crow— in prose. Hoagland’s dumb optimism carries some of his poems beyond their sloppy diction and countercultural correctness.