Local writer publishes ‘Domestic Garden’ a book of Poetry

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Washington Daily News staff


Washington resident John Hoppenthaler has published his third collection of poetry, “Domestic Garden,” with Carnegie Mellon University Press, one of the nation’s foremost publishers of poetry.

Hoppenthaler’s previous books of poetry are “Lives of Water” (2003) and “Anticipate the Coming Reservoir” (2008), also with Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays and interviews on the poetry of Jean Valentine, “This-World Company — Jean Valentine” (University of Michigan Press, 2012). His poetry appears in dozens of literary journals and magazines, as well as in many anthologies and textbooks, including “Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina” (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) and “Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina” (Texas Review Press, 2015). His work has been praised by, among others, former National Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey, who has written of his work, “Hoppenthaler knows well the geographies he traverses, and he maps the lives of the people who inhabit these places with tenderness.”

In his third collection of poetry, John Hoppenthaler surveils the remnants of an American Dream. What devotion might mean and look like in our time is at the book’s heart. The poems, written in a variety of styles, offer testimony and uncover, row by row, what remains viable in a garden they hope to resurrect. Of “Domestic Garden,” award-winning poet and MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant recipient, Campbell McGrath wrote, “John Hoppenthaler is naive enough to believe that human truths exist and crazy enough to hunt them down, unleashing his poems, with ‘bared teeth/ polished and glistening,’ to track, capture, display and extol them. Where would we be, I often wonder, without such fools and their testimony?”

For the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Hoppenthaler edits “A Poetry Congeries.”  For nine years, he served as personal assistant to Toni Morrison, and he is currently an associate professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University.

Hoppenthaler will read from his new book at ECU’s Joyner Library on April 1 at 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will also feature his ECU colleague Liza Wieland, who will read from her new novel, “Land of Enchantment.”  He will also read at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh on March 29 at 3 p.m.