Tony Hoagland was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He earned a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Hoagland was the author of the poetry collections Sweet Ruin (1992), which was chosen for the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and won the Zacharis Award from Emerson College; Donkey Gospel (1998), winner of the James Laughlin Award; What Narcissism Means to Me (2003), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Rain (2005); Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty (2010); Application for Release from the Dream (2015); Recent Changes in the Vernacular (2017); and Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God (2018). He has also published two collections of essays about poetry: Real Sofistakashun (2006) and Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays (2014). Hoagland’s poetry is known for its acerbic, witty take on contemporary life and “straight talk,” in the words of New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner: “At his frequent best … Hoagland is demonically in touch with the American demotic.”
Hoagland’s many honors and awards included fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He received the O.B. Hardison Prize for Poetry and Teaching from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award, and the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. Hoagland taught at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson MFA program. He died in October 2018.