The author of three volumes of poetry, Tony Hoagland received the 2005 Mark Twain Award for his contribution to humor in American poetry, as well as the O. B. Hardison prize for poetry and teaching. His poem "America", published in 2003, is a look at a teacher presented with the anger and frustration of a disaffected, blue-haired, tongue-studded student. At first the teacher seems to reject the student's complaint about modern materialist culture, pausing to "wonder if this is a legitimate category of pain." But then he reconsiders, privately acknowledging that "I am asleep in America too,/ And I don't know how to wake myself either." Hoagland's poem explores the effects of American consumerism and the barriers to identifying with others of a different class, nation, or generation.
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What Narcissism Means to Me, (Graywolf Press, 2003), p. 3.
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