Heather McHugh is the author of six books of poetry, a book of
essays, and translations from several languages. Called a "postmodern
metaphysician" by Booklist, McHugh is widely praised for her attention
to and fascination with language itself. Her poems, which have won many
awards, often revolve around complicated wordplay and etymological games.
Robert Hass describes her as "a poet for whom wit is a form of spiritual
survival." The Voice Literary Supplement declares that McHugh's poems "are
honest and essential as a blood count."
Born in California and raised in Virginia, McHugh entered Harvard at the age
of sixteen and later did graduate work at the University of Denver. Her first
book of poems, Dangers, was published in 1977. Subsequent volumes include To
the Quick, Hinge & Sign, The Father of the Predicaments,
and Broken English: Poetry and Partiality, a collection of essays. Her
translation work includes Euripides' Cyclops and Glottal Stop: Poems of Paul
Celan (with her husband, Nikolai Popov).
McHugh has taught at many universities, including the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
She is on the faculty of the Warren Wilson College M.F.A. program and is Milliman
Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and Professor of English at the University
of Washington in Seattle.