A Texas Poet Laureate passes on


Professor and author James Martin Hoggard died on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at the age of seventy-nine.


Hoggard was born on June 21, 1941, in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was a high-school athlete and an Eagle Scout before heading to Southern Methodist University, where he majored in English from 1959 to 1963. Hoggard attended graduate school at the University of Kansas from 1963 to 1965. Returning to Wichita Falls, Hoggard began writing for the Wichita Falls Record News. Dr. Joseph Satin, English Department chair at Midwestern State University (MSU) noticed and admired Hoggard's writing and offered him a teaching position for the spring of 1966. Hoggard taught creative poetry and prose, composition, and American literature at MSU for forty-eight years.


In 1977, Hoggard was named “Hardin Professor”, the highest award given to MSU faculty members for excellence in teaching, professional activity, and service. He was named McMurtry Distinguished Professor of Excellence in 1997 and the Perkins-Prothro Distinguished Professor of English in 2001. Hoggard headed the Midwestern State University Press for twenty-nine years. In 2000 he was named Poet Laureate of Texas.


A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date, but memorials may be sent to First United Methodist Church, Midwestern State University, and Hospice of Wichita Falls.


Other honors and award highlights include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Grant; the Hart Crane and Alice Crane Williams Memorial Fund Award for Poetry; publication in Best American Short Stories; the PEN Texas Poetry Award; Souerette Diehl Fraser Translation Award from the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters (TIL); and the Lon Tinkle Award for Excellence Sustained Throughout a Career from the TIL. Hoggard was elected a member of the TIL in 1979, and later served as its president, secretary, and treasurer, before being designated a TIL Fellow.


A prolific writer, Hoggard published more than three hundred poems, thirty short stories, three novels, one nonfiction book, two collections of short stories, and sixty essays. His pieces appeared in publications such as Texas Highways, the Texas Observer, the Dallas Morning News, the (late) Times Herald, and Texas MonthlyHe published twenty-three books, including eleven collections of poetry during his lifetime. Hoggard also translated approximately two hundred poems and completed six book translations from the Spanish, the most recent being Ashes in Love by Oscar Hahn. He had seven plays produced during his career. In addition, he wrote the lyrics to eleven anthems set to music by Kiyo Watanabe and performed by the Wichita Falls First United Methodist Church choir.


His last book, Where Three Winds Meet, won first place in the Press Women of Texas contest in 2016 for best book design. Texas Christian University Press published James Hoggard: New and Selected Poems as part of their series on Texas poets laureate.


James Hoggard is survived by his wife, Lynn Taylor Hoggard; brother Charles Hoggard and wife Connie; son Jordan Hoggard; daughter Bryn Talkington; and grandsons Nickolas and Jack.


From Legacy.com by Ysabel de la Rosa for the Wichita Falls Times Record News