Everett Hoagland
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Everett Hoagland's poetry has regularly appeared in publications with national/international distribution since the 1960's. His most recent books are:
THIS CITY & OTHER POEMS (Spinner Publications 1997/1998), ... HERE ... New & Selected Poems (Leapfrog Press 2002), JUST WORDS? (2007/2008).

His poetry has appeared in periodicals as diverse as: The AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW, BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIR, CALLALOO, The CRISIS, CROSS CULTURAL POETICS, DRUM VOICES, ESSENCE, MASSACHUSETTS REVIEW,
The PEOPLE'S WEEKLY WORLD, The PROGRESSIVE, POLITICAL AFFAIRS.

And in the following anthologies: The Best American Poetry 2002, African American Literature (eds. Gilyard & Wardi), Furious Flower, The Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry, The Body Electric, Bum Rush The Page, Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political & Cultural Connections.

Hoagland has won the Gwendolyn Brooks Award and two Massachusetts Artist Foundation Fellowships. He was the first Poet Laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts from 1994 to 1998, an educator for 40 years, and is Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts: Dartmouth.

Everett Hoagland still resides in New Bedford and is currently a member of the Boston area's Liberation Poets Collective.

COMMENTS ABOUT EVERETT HOAGLAND'S POETRY :

" This is poetry as much for the ear as it is for the eye, as much for the stage as it is for the page ...
While tones, diction, geography and subject vary, there is in (Hoagland's) language the ring of the Beats, Black Mountain music, consciousness streaming, and rhyming in rapper style, and there is the breath of the spoken poem, a speech that reveals a vast compassion for all the powerless "
-- Walter Hess, AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW

" ... there is a generosity and an integrity in these poems, a commitment to word and principle ...
from them we learn history or politics, to be sure, but also how to think and feel and live in the world"
-- Martin Espada, in his foreword for Hoagland's book, ... HERE ...

"Everett Hoagland's ... is ... substantial poetry ... It reminds us that poetry can be more than a passing moment of reflection/inspiration/whimsy over a cup of morning tea, however pleasant and reassuring that can be. I commend the essential bravery of Hoagland's work, which connects the intimate and personal now to the vastness of a historic and global outrage ... This is self-knowledge on an epic scale. All of us regardless of our origins, would do well to come to such grips with the long shadows of our own histories."
-- Patrick Murfin, in a letter to the Unitarian Universalist WORLD magazine.

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FOUR POEMS BY EVERETT HOAGLAND

At East/West Beaches

The day night was born
we searched for time and sea-
smoothed fragments of blue, green,

brown bottles. Glass
cleared of gloss
made of man-
and woman-
made fire

and sand
made from
stone, made
from rock, made
from cosmic dust. We

fringed the lips of under-
tow with footprints the waves
redeemed from the firm, wet
shore. We gathered and gave each other
milk white moonstones, aeons
old obsidian, pebbles trans-

lucent as sucked rock
candy and rolled up our jeans in the raw
salty mist. The sun sank into

a violet-lipped quahog, and grit-edged
night opened like a mussel. Under
lacquered, pearly black
light of moonrise we crossed
over a sandbar
into camp
ground    

by duned scrub
beach rose. The night day
was born we turned
around and found
no footprints.


The Music
After reading All God's Dangers: the life of Nate Shaw

Your archival voice,
our long blues song,
life's story
coughed up
the blood-soaked cotton
gag. Blue blood,

book-long,
blue steel guitar blues.

Your Smith and Wesson
.32 gun metal voice.
Six strings.

What did they call you
when you didn't yield?

"If you were
a white man: principled,
mule: stubborn,
nigger: crazy."

You were a blue steel guitar

and your wife was
a fiddle and a tambourine.
Hannah. Soft as cotton
and as strong.

And your wife was
a fiddle and a tambourine
and we your sons are
cane fifes,
and we your daughters
banjos.

Playing your gun metal voice,

playing your blue steel
guitar book-long song

CRAZY!


Talking Shit: King Leopold's Voice Box*

Vous parlez Francais tres bien!
Vous parlez tres bien!

Well, when I was young
they would lynch your language,
hang your mother tongue.

En Francais! En Francais! They say.

When you speak your words.

Mistake! They say.
They bring out a box,
big enough to hold
your head,
have it filled with human feces,
called it The Black Voice Box.*

Hang it from your neck, just

beneath your chin.
Watch your tears fall in it
with a righteous grin.
When you get the speech 'right'
They have it taken

away. To fill it up fresh for mistakes

the next day. They tried
to turn our talking into
a canal
of flowing French.

Yes, 'the tongue is the customer of the ear,' **

but here, it was also
the slave of the nose, forced
laborer, the bearer
of dripping, paisley
tears.

* A "learning" device, used by teaching priests and nuns, in what were the French Congo and the Belgian Congo. This is from testimony by a Franco-phone African survivor at the "Beyond Negritude ..." conference, Brown University, November 1988.

** An African proverb


Nia

At the beach
by the seeded ring cove
she lay back, unbuttoned
her maternity bouse, knees funneled
moonsky and sea. Above
the sandbar there was a gold
ring around the moon. Stretch marks
rippled from her navel
cameo of time; tributaries flowed down
around her full-womb-stretched skin.

Moonlight unrolled
ancient scrolls of water
containing Middle

Passage names
and her water broke
with you. Nia

when they put you
bloody and immaculate
on your mother's diaphanous
abdomen, you kneaded your shadow;
love stared milk and your mother cooed

awe. Now

you cry for beamed moon juice
in this dark room. Nia,
Nia, Nia, Nia.
Herispapa'spoopoo;
herishimfudgepudge. Nia

plump and healthy on your mama's mana,
I pronounce your name.
Purpose I pronounce your blood-red name
as your mother suckles you,
rocking in a bentwood chair built like
bop, smiling crescent moons.

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