CORVALLIS, Ore. – Heather McHugh, acclaimed for poetry that is both intellectual and exuberantly playful, will read from her work as part of Oregon State University’s Visiting Writers Series at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the main floor rotunda of the Valley Library.
McHugh is the author of seven volumes of poetry that include Eyeshot (2003), The Father of the Predicaments (1999), Shades (1988), To the Quick (1987), A World of Difference (1981) and Dangers (1977). Recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, McHugh was National Book Award finalist for Hinge & Sign: Poems 1961–93, which also won both the Boston Book Review’s Bingham Poetry Prize and the Pollack-Harvard Review Prize, and was named a “Notable Book of the Year” by the New York Times Book Review.
She is also the author of a collection of literary essays, Broken English: Poetry and Partiality, and has translated poetry by Blaga Dimitrova, Paul Célan, Euripedes and Jean Follain. Glottal Stop: 101 Poems by Paul Celan, co-translated with Nikolai Popov, won the prestigious Griffin Prize in 2001. In 1999, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
McHugh’s second most recent book could well provide an umbrella title for her work as a whole. Throughout her career her poetry has been concerned with the predicament of being, with textures of consciousness and thought, the problem of the body, and ultimately with language – our only tool for investigating these matters. “. . This kind of writing could seem like pure playfulness,” wrote Robert Hass in the Washington Post Book World, “but in McHugh it rarely does. . . . She’s a poet for whom wit is a form of spiritual survival.”
McHugh teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and as Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Sponsored by the OSU English Department, the Valley Library, and the Office of the Provost, the Visiting Writers Series readings are always free and open to the public.