Nationally acclaimed poet Heather McHugh
comes to Spokane this weekend for a free public reading of her poetry
at Auntie’s Bookstore. The Saturday presentation, beginning at 7:30 pm, is the next installment of the 2016-17 Visiting Writers Series
organized by Eastern Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers
A fitting work to explore before McHugh's upcoming visit is the poem “The Size of Spokane
," originally published in Hinge and Sign: Poems 1968-1993 (1994),
a collection named a "Notable Book of the Year" by the New York Times:
“The baby isn't cute. In fact he's
a homely little pale and headlong
stumbler. Still, he's one of us—the human beings stuck on flight 295 (Chicago to Spokane)...”
“...So! it's light
amazing him, it's only light, despite
some three and one
half hundred people, propped in rows
for him to wonder at…”
McHugh was first published in the New Yorker
before she became a graduate student at the University of Denver. Her first book, Dangers,
now one of 13 titles from McHugh, was published when she was 29.
In addition to poetry, McHugh has published books of essays on poetry, and translations of famous writers. Throughout her career, she's accumulated many awards, grants, and fellowships for her works, including grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, a Guggenheim fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant," and one of the first United States Artists Awards.
Currently, McHugh is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and teacher at the University of Washington in Seattle. She also teaches in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College as a visiting faculty member.