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Simon Armitage & Tony Hoagland
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Simon Armitage
Photo by Jonty Wilde

Simon Armitage was born in 1963 and lives in West Yorkshire.

He has published nine volumes of poetry including Killing Time, 1999 (Faber & Faber) and Selected Poems, 2001 (Faber & Faber) His most recent collections are The Universal Home Doctor and Travelling Songs, both published by Faber & Faber in 2002. He has received numerous awards for his poetry including the Sunday Times Author of the Year, one of the first Forward Prizes and a Lannan Award.

He writes for radio, television and film, and is the author of four stage plays,

including Mister Heracles, a version of the Euripides play The Madness of Heracles. His recent dramatisation of The Odyssey, commissioned by the BBC, was broadcast on Radio 4 in 2004 and is available through BBC Worldwide. It is published by Faber and Faber in May 2006 and by Norton in the US. He received an Ivor Novello Award for his song-lyrics in the Channel 4 film Feltham Sings, which also won a BAFTA.

His first novel, Little Green Man, was published by Penguin in 2001. His second novel The White Stuff was published in 2004.

Simon Armitage has taught at the University of Leeds and the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, and is currently a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. With Robert Crawford he edited The Penguin Anthology of Poetry from Britain and Ireland Since 1945. Other anthologies include Short and Sweet – 101 Very Short Poems, and a selection of Ted Hughes’ poetry, both published by Faber & Faber.

The Shout, a book of new and selected poems was published in the US in April 2005 by Harcourt. He is currently working on a translation of the middle English classic poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, commissioned by Faber & Faber in the UK and Norton in the US.

His latest collection of poems, Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid is published by Faber and faber in September 2006.

Tony Hoagland
Photo by Kenna Bonner

Tony Hoagland is the author of three volumes of poetry: Sweet Ruin, winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry; Donkey Gospel, winner of the James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets; andWhat Narcissism Means to Me, as well as a collection of essays about poetry, Real Sofistakashun, all by Graywolf Press. His newest collection, Unincorporated Persons of the Late Honda Dynasty, is forthcoming in January 2010. His poems and critical essays have appeared widely in journals and anthologies such as American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and Ploughshares.

He is the winner of the 2008 Jackson Poetry Prize, awarded by Poets & Writers magazine. In 2005 he received the O.B. Hardison Jr. Prize, awarded by the Folger Shakespeare Library; this is the only national prize to recognize a poet's teaching as well as his art. Hoagland also received the 2005 Mark Twain Award, given by the Poetry Foundation in recognition of a poet's contribution to humor in American poetry; of this award Stephen Young said,"There is nothing escapist or diversionary about Tony Hoagland’s poetry. Here’s misery, death, envy, hypocrisy, and vanity. But the still sad music of humanity is played with such a light touch on an instrument so sympathetically tuned that one can’t help but laugh. Wit and morality rarely consort these days; it’s good to see them happily, often hilariously reunited in the winner’s poetry."

Tony Hoagland's poems have been described as moving unerringly with wit and irony, like an arrow through its target—we, the readers—with exhilarating results. His poems sprint across the page and unexpectedly blow apart a single moment, exposing its contradictory nature—and often our folly. Hoagland explores the spiritual bereftness of American satisfaction, creating poetry that is scathing, funny, rich, and refreshingly intelligent. Steven Cramer writes of Hoagland's poems, "[They] grapple with selfhood and manhood, but they also consider the mysteries of the national identity—how the social and the personal mutually impinge." Hoagland currently teaches in the poetry program at the University of Houston.

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