Am reading Tony Hoagland again--this time Donkey Gospel. I am thinking of the way he flirts with sentimentality--gawking at it, really. It seems to be like some kind of dare-double-dare thing with him--how far can I push this? How close to the line can I get?
I admire that. For all kinds of reasons--as in, why not? As in, emotional tenor seems to be back in fashion. As in, emotional content is like blood or air or something essential. I think his emotional range is actually fairly broad. A lot of it is bound up with humor, but the humor masks compassion, pity, rage, anger, empathy. I think he writes really great poems that express anger--because anger isn't just a single, forceful emotion. It's a range of feelings--there are a lot of gradations.
I need to get his new book. Tomorrow I should post some examples from his poems.