Tony Hoagland

A handful of artists trespass across the silly lines constructed for readers—long lines and short, genre borders or other flimsy fences and walls. These jolly mavericks laugh (and make us laugh) at the authority of taste-makers, critics and, well, authority. Of that small group of political American poets, Tony Hoagland does his comic-yet-sincere best to not only mix high and low, but perform, wink and elbow us in the ribs. His ear for language is so tuned to the idiom of our empire that just reading the title of his volume What Narcissism Means to Me is almost enough, but of course the poems inside, of both self-consciousness and the rejection of selfishness, invite us to do a fun dance, tempting even wallflowers to personalize the world. Poet, scholar and wiseguy Hoagland reads at UC Irvine for the creative writers there, for all of us, and, yes, just for you.

Wed., April 23, 6 p.m., 2014

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