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Heather McHugh

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2003 • 64 pp. 3 illus. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$14.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6672-0
$25.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-6671-3

“This is a sort of poignancy possible only through the striking together of profound sadness with tough humor… McHugh’s rigorous experiments with language give these poems the feel of tightly coiled springs in their precision and energy.”—Jessica Garratt, Austin Chronicle

Scintillating new work from a celebrated contemporary poet.

Heather McHugh's new book, Eyeshot, is a brooding, visionary work that takes aim at the big questions—those of love and death. The poems suggest that such immensities balance on the smallest details, and that a range of human blindness is inescapable.

The power of this new work comes from its delicate yet tenacious fidelity to the ever-unfolding senses of sense. The poems invite the reader to follow careening words and insights through passages both playful and profound. Her "Fido, Jolted by Jove" reveals the tension endemic to both language and living: "the world itself is worried." Yet the same poem remarks the high price of any reductive fix: "a brain this insecure may need another bolt be driven in it." This movement between anxiety and the human compulsion for order informs Eyeshot's darkly comic, 20/20 acuity.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Her writing is so alert to itself, so alert to language, it's like watching a dancer on a mirrored floor, stepping on her steps. She's practically playing with her words as she writes them down.”Robert Hass, Washington Post Book World

"All of her lines are demanding, especially her last lines–puzzling yet provocative, they're like little switches that flip at the end, sending the reader back into the poet's maze of words."The New York Times Book Review

"... McHugh here returns to her own signature bravura and obsessive word play, focusing on the struggle of eye and mind, brain and body, to mediate the exacting details of an exquisitely overwrought world... probing language in a way that enhances (and seems inextricably linked to) scientific inquiry..."—Publishers Weekly

From the Book:

Pure indifference
moves otherwise. It’s unconditional:
a little fling cannot diminish it:
impartially it flies from everything,

from man’s investments, and
his dearth. The thought that God
might care for us is
terrifying: ought

to keep us hooked on earth.
—from “Song for a Mountain-Climber”


Runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (2004)
Runner-up for the ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year Award (2003)

The author of six previous books of poetry, including National Book Award finalist Hinge & Sign (Wesleyan, 1993), HEATHER MCHUGH teaches in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College and since 1984 at the University of Washington in Seattle. She takes time off in Maine.

Tue, 15 May 2018 12:58:25 -0500