John Hoppenthaler
July 2011


John HoppenthalerJohn Hoppenthaler books of poetry are Lives of Water (2003) and Anticipate the Coming Reservoir (2008), both titles from Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays and interviews on the poetry of Jean Valentine (forthcoming in 2012 from U Michigan P). His poetry appears in Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Southern Review, Barrow Street, Laurel Review, West Branch, the anthologies A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (forthcoming from U of Akron P), Blooming through the Ashes: An International Anthology on Violence and the Human Spirit (Rutgers UP, 2008), Poetry Calendar (Alhambra Publishing, 2006-2010), September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond (Etruscan Press, 2002), Chance of a Ghost (Helicon Nine Editions, 2005), and elsewhere. His essays, interviews, and reviews appear in Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets (SUNY Press, 2010), The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry, Arts & Letters, Chelsea, Review Revue, Pleiades, and The Cortland Review. For twelve years he served as Poetry Editor for Kestrel: A Journal of Literature and Arts, and for the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, he currently edits “A Poetry Congeries” and curates the Guest Poetry Editor Feature. He serves as well on the Advisory Board for Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Words and Music Festival (WAMFEST). Among his honors are an Individual Artist Grant from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, a Regional Artist Project Grant from the North Carolina Community Council for the Arts, and Residency Fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University.


Statement of Poetics

For me, poetry is part science. Like any science, poetry is an attempt to describe and understand the world in which we live. Poetry is partly the work of an historian as well. That is, poems flesh out; they fill in historical erasures that are either accidental or intentional; they deny and verify; mostly they demonstrate ambiguity in the master narrative. Poetry is also entertainment, if it can be said that entertainment can often be a painful thing. Poetry for me is an existential act, and so it is like a religion.  Poets keep trying to say exactly what it is that is ineffable, that for which no words exist. It doesn’t pay well, but it makes me rich. 




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