Hoagland, Everett H. 1942–

views updated

Everett H. Hoagland 1942

Poet, educator

At a Glance

Selected writings


Always an inventive and highly politicized poet, Everett Hoaglands work is driven as much by the rhythms of jazz, as it is by the cultural, psychological, and historical weight of racial division. Hoaglands racial politics are informed by a powerful sense of history and struggle, but he is also a poet of individual lives. Though largely overlooked by academic critics, Hoagland is widely anthologized and popular with readers. He held the position of poet laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts, from 1994 to 1998, and won the coveted Gwendolyn Brooks Fiction Award. He is considered to be one of the finest African-American poets of the late twentieth century and is a central figure in the renaissance of black poetry in the 1990s.

Born on December 18, 1942, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Everett Hoagland is the son of Everett Jr. and Estelle Hoagland. He was raised in Philadelphia and attended Lincoln University, graduating with an AB in 1963 before going on to teach English and adult literacy programs in public schools for three years. He later attended Brown University on a university fellowship, graduating with an MA in 1973. He married his second wife, Alice Susan Trimiew, after she moved to New Bedford in 1977, and they had two daughters, Nia and Ayan. Hoagland already had two other children, Kamal and Reza Eve, with his first wife Darrell Steward Foreman.

The early part of Hoaglands career as a poet came at the height of the civil rights struggles of the mid-1960s, and it is unsurprising that his poetry from that period reflects the social divisions of the time. He published his second book, Black Velvet (1970), with Broadside Press, the Detroit publisher responsible for bringing to print the work of Black Arts Movement poets. Broadside played a key role in the cultural and intellectual development of the civil rights movement. Hoaglands work tends to focus on the individual experience as a means to exploring race and racial politics. He is an observer of black community life, appropriating the rhythms of black music for his poems, and documenting individual lives. His poem Just Words, for example is a revisiting of the life of Frederick Douglass, a famous early chronicler of black experience. Writer Maya Angelou described him as someone who cares and someone who comprehends.

Hoaglands influences as a poet are wide ranging. Critics have identified in his work the so-called Black Mountain style of musicians such as John Cage and poets such as Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, the rhythms of bebop and the Beat poets, and the aggressive rhyming of rap and Def Jam. But Martin Espada, who contributed the foreword to Here: New and Selected Poems (2002), emphasized Hoaglands interest in people and shared experience: The people crowding these poems might spring from a vast mural of African and African-American history. He is a poet of the defiant. But he is also a poet of the dejected, the despairing, the ones with boll weevil souls.

Hoaglands career as a teacher and college professor has also influenced his poetic style; he is considered a poet whose work teaches. Fanonne Jeffers, in a review of Here for Black Issues Book Review said, [T]here is a strut to Hoaglands poems and a didactic quality, but what makes this book a largely satisfying and complicated

At a Glance

Born on December 18, 1942, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Everett, Jr. and Estelle (Johnson) Hoagland; married Darrell Steward Foreman (divorced); married Alice Susan Trimiew, 1977; children: Kamal, Nia, Ayan-Estelle, Reza Eve. Education: Lincoln University, PA, AB, 1964; Brown University, MA, 1973. Religion: Unitarian Universalist.

Career: Philadelphia public schools, English teacher, 1964-67; Philadelphia public schools, adult literacy teacher, 1964-67; Lincoln University (Philadelphia), assistant director of admissions, 1967-69; Brown University, University Fellow, 1971-73; University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, instructor to associate professor of English, 1973; Amer Poetry Review, contributing editor, 1984; William Carney Academy, New Bedford, poet-in-residence, 1985.

Memberships: New Bedford Foster Grandparents Program, board member, 1976-82; NAACP; Black Radical Congress, 1999.

Awards: Brown University, fellowship in creative writing, 1971-73; Black World (magazine), Gwendolyn Brooks Award for Fiction, 1974; Massachusetts Arts and Humanities Foundation, Creative Artists Fellowship, 1975; National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1984; Artists Foundation Statewide Poetry Competition Award, 1986.

Addresses: Office Room 323, Group I Building, Department of English, Southeastern Massachusetts University, Old Westport Rd., North Dartmouth, MA 02747.

read is Hoaglands vulnerability as he remains true to history and politics.

Hoaglands early books, such as Ten Poems (1968) and Black Velvet (1970), were successful, but most of his work has appeared in journals and anthologies, including A Broadside Treasury (1971), and Bum Rush the Page (2001). His anthology Here: New and Selected Poems (2002) gathers poetry from throughout Hoaglands 30-year career and was ForeWord Magazine s Best Poetry Book of 2002. Hoagland has won many awards and honors, including the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for Fiction in 1974 and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Selected writings


Ten Poems: A Collection, American Studies Institute, 1968.

Black Velvet, Broadside Press, 1970.

Scrimshaw, Patmos Press, 1976.

This City and Other Poems, Spinner, 1997.

Here: New and Selected Poems, Leapfrog Press, 2002.


The New Black Poetry, edited by Clarence Major, International, 1969.

Patterns, edited by H. N. Rosenberg, Idlewild, 1970.

The Black Poets, edited by Dudley Randall, Bantam, 1971.

A Broadside Treasury, edited by Gwendolyn Brooks, Broadside Press, 1971.

New Black Voices: An Anthology of Contemporary

American Literature, edited by Abraham Chapman, Mentor Books, 1972.

Dues: An Anthology of New Earth Writings, edited by Ron Welburn, Emerson-Hall, 1973.

Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writings, edited by Quincy Troupe and Rainer Schulte, Vintage Books, 1975.

Def Jam The Page, Three Rivers Press, 2001.



African American Review, Fall 2000.

Black Issues Book Review, September-October, 2002.

Standard-Times (Bedford, MA), October 27, 1996; March 13, 1998.


Everett Hoagland, Biography Resource Center, http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC (May 12, 2004).

Here, Leapfrog Press, www.leapfrogpress.com/Here.html (May 15, 2004).

More Poetry, Less Jam!, Def Poetry Jam Story, http://aalbc.com/authors/def_poetryJam_story.htm (May 15, 2004)

Chris Routledge