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Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty: Poems Paperback – February 2, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; 2010 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555975496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555975494
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I too am made of joists and stanchions, of plasterboard and temperamental steel, mortgage payments and severed index fingers, ex-girlfriends and secret Kool-Aid-flavored dawns. —from “Demolition”
 
“It’s hard to imagine any aspect of contemporary American life that couldn’t make its way into the writing of Tony Hoagland or a word in common or formal usage he would shy away from. He is a poet of risk: he risks wild laughter in poems that are totally heartfelt, poems you want to read out loud to anyone who needs to know the score and even more so to those who think they know the score. The framework of his writing is immense, almost as large as the tarnished nation he wandered into under the star of poetry.” —Jackson Poetry Prize judges’ citation

About the Author

Tony Hoagland is the author of three previous poetry collections, including What Narcissism Means to Me and Donkey Gospel, and a collection of essays, Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft. He teaches at the University of Houston.

Customer Reviews

She enjoys poetry so I'll probably be sending her more poetry books in the future.
KS
These very accessible poems deal with our most tragic personal and collective moments and makes them humorous and lovely and redemptive.
Paolo & Francesca
He uses language so skillfully -- no doubtful passages -- I feel like he's talking j to me, one on one, in an informal conversation.
Charles E. Carlin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Adair Rowland on March 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ever since discovering "What Narcissism Means to Me" in 2004, I've hungered for the "Tony take" on everything from millennial materialism to awakening from illness. Very personal, very social, uncanny marksmanship in his imagery, Hoagland makes me remember what poetry can do beyond any other medium. Open this collection anywhere, read aloud, and watch if you don't say "Whoa!" as what just happened sinks in.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Slachetka on May 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty is a colorful and contradictory view of America. The poems are a filled with musings on the century we are living in and the dynamics of love and life.

Tony Hoagland's verses seem to ask if we are just bold adventurers claiming a new democratic royalty or is our empire full of rust spots and loud mufflers as is cruises through a country covered in peeling billboards and half-drunk soda cans and is there any difference?

There is nice coherence to this book of poetry. Intended or not, the table of contents even reads like a list poem, where each title conveys a conversation of emotions set in stanzas. This book has unique potential, from the catchy title to the spirited verses.

Still, there is awkwardness in Hoagland's prose. It isn't clumsy in language or structure, but in its ability to express. Using broad phrases like "for a while the problem got very clear, and the clarity constituted a kind of relief, as if the problem had withdrawn. . . But after a while the clarity began to fade" which don't actually say much of anything are a major hazard. Something is missing in this vagueness and it feels like we are left out of a secret joke known only to the writer, making it hard for the reader to fully commit to the work and get lost in the poet's world.

Another detractor is when the author addresses the poem directly, as in the following bits: "they are excited to be entering the poem" and "I wanted to get the cement truck into the poem" or "I liked the idea of my poem having room inside." This self-praising just feels unnecessary. The truth is - it seems like Hoagland, himself, is working through a mid-life crisis.

Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty is an introspective look at ourselves and the country we live in. Hoagland's home-spun soliloquies on American life are both clever and pensive.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
The fourth poetry collection by University of Houston teacher Tony Hoagland, Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty is an anthology of free-verse spinning a tongue-in-cheek parable of modern American life. A siren call to remember the most valuable aspects of day-to-day life - aspects that are tied to humanity and community rather than wealth or power. Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty is ultimately a reminder that it is better to be personally "unincorporated". "Voyage": I feel as if we opened a book about great ocean voyages / and found ourselves on a great ocean voyage: / sailing through December, around the horn of Christmas / and into the January Sea, and sailing on and on // in a novel without a moral but one in which / all the characters who died in the middle chapters / make the sunsets near the book's end more beautiful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Michael Albert on April 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could just kick myself. I lived in Houston for 30 years, then moved to New Hampshire, THEN discovered that Tony Hoagland was teaching at the University of Houston, my former employer. If I didn't already know about Tony Hoagland, I'd have to find him. His writing is the sort of good therapy that every writer needs. He's a superb craftsman but never beats his readers over the head with it. Instead, his overall message is more, "Do your best then kick back. Don't beat yourself up; you can rely on the world to do that for you. Really." What is more, he's the chief protagonist of a poetic theory I've formulated that simply reads: Nothing Is Ordinary. There are poems here called "Food Court," "Poor Britney Spears," "My Father's Vocabulary," "The Story of White People," "Requests for Toy Piano," and "The Allegory of the Temp Agency." Everything is fair game; and everything is metaphorically nutritious. I especially love his "guy" poems, a prime example being "Address to the Beloved." Here we have an author who loves to listen to and understands the process of jazz, riffing on the simple exasperation from his sweetie, "get real," and wandering off into the guy-labyrinth of "I don't know what you mean but I'm willing to try everything until I stumble on it." If you haven't started collecting his books and dog-earring the hell out of them, start with this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paolo & Francesca on November 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These very accessible poems deal with our most tragic personal and collective moments and makes them humorous and lovely and redemptive. Even the most minute details are transcendent, as detail is what Hoagland does best. He makes us see the things that we see everyday as if encountering them for the first time. All the little moments of suffering offered by the poet are redeemed by his unjudgemental attention. Behind all of the absurd things that we do as a species these poems make us realize the longing behind our actions. In "love", the woman who has lost her braests "hmups the man's leg in the dark bedroom like a rodeo bronco rider" and the man who has lost "the eretcile authority of yesteryear" sucks her braests with the "tenderness and acumen of Walt Whitman." What seems ridiculous is rendered heroic and real by the exploration of what it is. Hoagland's subjects are the things that we don't care to notice, the things of everyday life that are annoying, inconvenient, infuriating, yet by some magic they become exalted. The opening poem "Description" hints at the method of this magic:

In all of this a place must be
reserved for human suffering:
the sick and unloved, the chemically confused;
the ones who believe desperately in sight;
the ones addicted to change.
How our thoughts clawed and pummeled the walls.
How we tried but could not find our way out.
In the wake of our effort, how we rested.
How description was the sign of our acceptance.

I am reminded of something Don Revell told me: "The poem is a bower. Much is happening yet the occasion is one of perfect rest." In this resting, this describing without judgment, comes acceptance, and with it transcendence.
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More About the Author

TONY HOAGLAND is the author of three poetry collections, including What Narcissism Means to Me, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Donkey Gospel, winner of the James Laughlin Award. He teaches at the University of Houston.

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Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty: Poems
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