So around April, I interviewed Allen Hoey, a professor from BCCC. But he was not only a professor, he was a Pulitzer prize winner, poet, author and much more. I had a chance to meet him before his death on June 16th. He told me if I ever needed any help with my writing I could contact him. Here is the article I wrote about him.
He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. And now he’s produced a new book of poems called ‘Stricter means selected earlier poems.’
“’Stricter means selected earlier poems’ has a lot of nature in [the poems] and is seen through different lenses,” said Allen Hoey, language and literature professor at Bucks and 2001 Bucks County Poet Laureate.
The cover is white and looks like an elk on the front and was designed by Hoey himself.
“I think it’s a nice-looking book,” said Hoey.
The back of the book says, “Stricter Means presents a selection of poems drawn from four earlier collections, as well as a sampling of uncollected poems and previously published transitions. Deeply grounded in nature and rooted in spirituality both Eastern and western, these poems range across a world composed of backyard vistas, jazz-club haze, and Old World landmarks.”
He wanted to incorporate Vincent Van Gogh into his poems.
“I did a lot of research on Van Gogh and how the weather was [at the time]. I [looked at] the last three years of his life and his paintings,” said Hoey.
Hoey’s work includes: A Fire in the Cold House of Being, Country Music (poems, 2008) (nominated for the Pulitzer prize) Voices Beyond the Dead (novel, 2007) Chasing the Dragon: A Novel about Jazz (2006) The Precincts of Paradise (poems, 2005) Provençal Light & Other Poems (2005) What Persists (poems, 1992) Once Upon a Time at Blanche’s (poems, 2009) On the Demon’s Trail (novel, 2009) Stricter Means selected earlier poems (2010).
“I love to write,” said Hoey.
In terms of publishing a book, he says to have an agent first. And since he’s had 10 books released, others can say he must know what he’s doing.
“Artists learn from people who came before them. Aspiring novelists must read, practice and develop a strong enough sense of importance for rejection slips,” said Hoey.
His message to writers is to put together a letter that pitches your story and send it to every agent.
When he was young, he loved books.
“I loved the fact there was so much information,” said Hoey.
He started out writing poems and stories. He first sent out his work to magazines and some his work was printed.
“You gradually work your way up to publishing with the big boys or girls,” said Hoey.
He said to find words and work with the sound of them.
Hoey, in his red shirt with gray pants, leaned back in his chair and spoke in monotone.
He said he now can recognize when he’s about to write something bad.
“It’s called creative ingestion. It’s taking a Tums and forgetting it,” said Hoey.
Hoey was part of the week-long ‘Writing for our lives forum’ at Bucks in April. It featured alumni and faculty who authored books and those who made a career out of writing.
He said he thought it went well and students seemed interested.
If anyone would like more information on Allen Hoey, they can go to his website http://www.allenhoey.com/.
His final advice was, “If any student has an interest in any form of art, pursue it,” said Hoey smiling brightly. “Even if it’s not your profession [writing], it’s an intriguing part of your life, go for it.”
Even though I didn’t know Dr. Allen Hoey that well, in that hour we spent together going over his new book, I could tell he was passionate about what he did.
RIP Allen Hoey.