Calling Sex and the River Styx Hoagland’s “best book yet”, Keillor – owner of independent bookstore Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minnesota and long-time host of public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion – praised Hoagland as “the greatest prose stylist of our time”.
Here’s an excerpt from the article, which can be found in full at this link.
AARP: Why would you say we need poetry? Why should we read it?
Keillor: I would never tell you you need poetry, but if we were eating dinner together and you said something disparaging about poetry, I might look you in the eye and recite “A Blessing” by James Wright or “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver or “Since Feeling Is First” by E.E. Cummings, and you would be moved by the straightforward musicality of it. Composers keep trying to set these things to music, and there’s absolutely no need to — true poetry IS music. You would be touched by the music of our ordinary American English.
AARP: Does age give you an advantage in writing it? Finding meaning in it?
Keillor: Good Lord, no. The advantage is with youth, as in most things. They have the energy and bravery and pizzazz, they go slamming around, and we old coots tiptoe along the edge. But we have high hopes. And there are exceptions to the rule. I’m reading Edward Hoagland’s latest book, Sex and the River Styx. He is one of the greatest prose stylists of our time, he is 78, and this is his best book — great God, I am stunned at this accomplishment. And Robert Bly, closing in on 90 and writing beautifully and more humorously than ever. And Donald Hall, likewise. I’m 68, and I am cheering for my elders.