Tony Tost

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Tony Tost
BornJuly 27, 1975
Springfield, Missouri
Occupationpoet, screenwriter, producer
NationalityAmerican
Alma materGreen River Community College
College of the Ozarks
University of Arkansas
Duke University
GenrePoetry
Rural crime
Neo-western

Tony Tost (born 1975) is an American poet, critic and screenwriter. His first poetry book Invisible Bride won the 2003 Walt Whitman Award judged by C.D. Wright.[1] He is the creator, executive producer, and showrunner of Damnation, a period drama about the labor wars in America during the 1930s that aired on USA Network and on Netflix outside the US.[2]

Early life[edit]

Tost was born in Springfield, Missouri and grew up in a series of single and double-wide trailers in and around Enumclaw, Washington.[3] His parents were the day and night custodians at his elementary school and were the president and secretary of their labor union.[4] Before becoming a writer, Tost began working full-time at the age of fifteen, working fast food and retail jobs, in a pickle factory, cleaning hotels and condos, washing dishes, and janitorial work.[5]

He is a graduate of both Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington and College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. After his undergraduate education, Tost graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas.[6] He then completed a Ph.D. in English from Duke University, writing his dissertation on the poetics of innovative modernists such as Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein.[7]

Career[edit]

Tost is the founding editor of the online poetry magazine Fascicle and previously a co-editor and co-founder, with Zachary Schomburg, of Octopus Magazine. His poems and essays have appeared in the literary journals Fence, Hambone, Talisman, Mandorla, No: a journal of the arts, Denver Quarterly, Typo, American Literature, Jacket, Verse, Open Letter and elsewhere.[8]

In 2011, Tost's book on Johnny Cash's American Recordings was published by Continuum Books in their 33 1/3 series on classic albums. Critic Joshua Scheiderman wrote that Tost's book "ultimately belongs in the long, rich tradition of texts like Constance Rourke’s American Humor: A Study of the National Character (1931) and Greil Marcus’s The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (1997), ostensibly academic studies of American culture but also works of mythopoesis in their own right."[9]

Tost was a writer and producer on five seasons (out of six) of the A&E and later Netflix television series Longmire.[10] His script "The Olympian" about Brad Alan Lewis's quest for the 1984 Olympics was selected for the 2016 Black List ranking of the film industry's best unproduced screenplays.[11]

Tost is the creator, executive producer, and showrunner of Damnation, a period drama about the labor wars in America during the 1930s. "Damnation" debuted November 2017 on USA Network and on Netflix outside the US.[12] According to Tost, "I wanted to come up with a pulpy story about America that had big, operatic backstories for the characters and big gestures and unexpected little grace notes. I was inspired by everything from the westerns of Sam Peckinpah, Clint Eastwood, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Budd Boetticher, James Mangold, Quentin Tarantino, the Coens, and Sergio Leone; to samurai films like Yojimbo and 13 Assassins and Lady Snowblood; to grimy 1970s crime films like Charley Varrick, Prime Cut, Night Moves, and Walking Tall; to crime novels by Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson, James Ellroy, James Crumley. Thematically, my big inspirations are my artistic heroes Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard."[13]

Tost currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Invisible Bride (2004)
  • World Jelly (2005)
  • Complex Sleep (2007)
  • Johnny Cash's American Recordings (criticism, 2011)

References[edit]