Social Life Essay

Tony Hoagland
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Blevins has published essays and poems in many magazines, journals, and anthologies and teaches writing at Roanoke College. In this essay, Blevins warns that reading Hoagland's poem as a mere celebration of the natural world would undermine its more serious intentions.

Although some critics will be tempted to place "Social Life" in the pastoral tradition by reading it as an idealization of the natural world, an understanding of Hoagland's main concerns and techniques will uncover the poem's more complicated intention, which is to expose the conflict between mind and body. Camille Paglia, writing in Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, calls this conflict humankind's "supreme . . . problem." Hoagland engages the prehistoric attempt to subdue the dark powers of nature with the civilizing forces of culture to insist that it is incorrect and dangerous to make distinctions between these two powers. In other words, "Social Life...

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This section contains 1,422 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Social Life Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Social Life from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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