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McHugh, Heather
Adult Nonfiction PS3563.A311614 U64 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

McHugh's eighth book finds this acclaimed poet as odd and entertaining as ever, with her trademark slippery associative lines and jagged stanzas ("The mystery of speaking every day/ So plainly from a face she cannot see/ Unsettles her..."), but also subtly sobered by growing older while living through the grim political climate of the last eight years. McHugh's short, jerky lines, odd rhymes, bemused gravity and slant perspective on the world at hand bring Emily Dickinson to mind. "The man of the moment would kill/ to be man of the hour," she says in "Unto High Heaven," a poem that seems to recall the Bush presidency and the rise of the Internet, which she touches on elsewhere in a poem that demands we "Webcam the World": "Get all of it. Set up the shots/ at every angle; run them online/ 24-7." Other poems try to make sense of life's little mysteries: "Through petri dishes' rings/ life is transmogrified. When we/ look into things, we see// there's space inside," reads the entirety of "The Microscope." McHugh remains one of our most important and unusual poets in a world where YouTube makes every experience fodder for entertainment and a person "cannot die again; and I/ do nothing but re-live." (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A fan of recent MacArthur fellow McHugh's work for some time, this reader began her 13th book eagerly. The poems are witty, musical, and linguistically ingenious but often keep to the surface. McHugh pokes fun at herself, at priests, at God (and gods), but the singsong cleverness too often misses the mark, though the book is informed by (and wrestles with) incontrovertibles: grief, terror (personal and global), illness, aging, and cruelty. Sometimes she does go deeper, with poems like "Creature Crush" (about a monkey tortured as public entertainment) and "Not To Be Dwelled On" about the burial of a friend. Often, however, they are (as the publicity says)"pyrotechnics"-full of dazzle and energetic bursts that fade in the night sky of poetry. Verdict If you're looking for puns and fast-paced wordplay ("No Sex for Priests" is sad, wry, and pretty darned funny), along with multifaceted erudition played off against a post-9/11 background, then this book is for you. Readers interested in the directions of contemporary poetry should consider.-Emily Souza, Sacramento, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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