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.


Poems by Heather McHugh

Etymological Dirge




Poetry Center Reading:

Fall 2001