Tost, Tony 1975-
Tost, Tony 1975-
Born 1975, in Springfield, MO. Education: Attended Green River Community College and College of the Ozarks; University of Arkansas, M.F.A.
Home—Chapel Hill, NC.
Writer, poet, and editor.
Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, 2003, for Invisible Bride.
Invisible Bride (poems), Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2004.
Complex Sleep (poems), University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 2007.
Contributor to literary journals, including Fence, Field, Spinning Jenny, Typo, Quarter after Eight, Goodfoot, Localist, and Can We Have Our Ball Back? Coeditor, Octopus online magazine.
Tony Tost is a poet who believes in the transformative power of poetry, both for individuals and for society at large. When asked by an interviewer on the Every Other Day Web site if he believed that poetry could change the world, Tost responded: "Totally, but only one consciousness at a time. Poetry has made me a better person, for real. It's the best medium for knowledge I know of."
Tost brings this sensibility to the prose-style poems of his debut collection, Invisible Bride. Within the poems in this book, Tost's "woozy prose fragments come together to produce remarkable atmospheric effects and, most impressively, an intensely romantic sense of language's potential to build habitations out of inhospitable conditions," observed Aaron McCullough on the North Carolina State University Web site. The work "affords us a pre-dissociative view of a complete (yes, very complete; yes, very whole) person's experience, both in childhood and adulthood," noted Laura Carter in a review posted on NewPages.com. "The result is a striking narrative, driven by the speaker alone, and by his experiences, which are ultimately the experiences each of us has," Carter observed.
The poems in the book "are all written in prose and are often without titles," McCullough noted. "This is not to say that they are ‘prose poems’ in any proscriptive sense. More than anything else, the prose here conveys a round, voiced quality to the language—a quality that would likely be compromised if other verse options (formal or projective) had been included." Many of the poems address metaphysical concerns, such as "Unawares," in which the narrator ponders the meaning of spaces between letters in words and between objects in the world. "If two objects are nearby in one direction, then a world / separates them in the other: the ghost-distance. Tony thinks the / alphabet is a circle: what comes after z?" Tost's "attention to the ‘ghost-distance’ in various forms is what most unifies Invisible Bride and what gives the book its own distinctive character," McCullough stated. Barbara Hoffert, writing in the Library Journal, noted that while the poems' style might initially lead readers to confuse them with prose stories, the works stand as "pure poetry." Tost's "poetry does what poetry ought to do," Carter concluded.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Book Review, July-August, 2004, Jake Adam York, review of Invisible Bride, p. 5.
Library Journal, July, 2004, review of Invisible Bride, p. 88.
Academy of American Poets Web site,http://www.poets.org/ (March 28, 2007), "Tony Tost."
Cortland Review Online,http://www.cortlandreview.com/ (March 28, 2007) "Tony Tost: Poetry."
Every Other Day,http://www.kickingwind.com/ (March 28, 2007), interview with Tony Tost.
Louisiana State University Press Web site,http://www.lsu.edu/ (March 28, 2007).
NewPages.com,http://www.newpages.com/ (March 28, 2007), Laura Carter, review of Invisible Bride.
Unquiet Grave,http://unquietgrave.blogspot.com (March 28, 2007), "Tony Tost Web Blog."