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Release: Immediate

Poet Heather McHugh will give reading at UI Dec. 8

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Award-winning poet Heather McHugh, a recent visiting faculty member in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her work at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8. in Lecture Room II of UI Van Allen Hall. The reading is sponsored by the Writers' Workshop and is free and open to the public.

McHugh is the author most recently of the collection "Hinge and Sign: Poems 1968-1993," a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Pollock/Harvard Book Review prize. She has built a reputation as a rebellious poet working traditional forms, in conversation with the language. She recently published the essays "Broken English: Poetry and Partiality."

The Village Voice Literary Supplement writes of her work: Heather McHugh's "poems are as honest and essential as a blood count . . . Her speech is stripped down to the last contraction, tested for resonance and worked back into idioms that can bear ironic weight. You can open anywhere, almost at random, and find plain revelations. By turning language into courage she manages to bounce you back from despair. Her poems are open, resilient, invisibly twisted: part safety net, part trampoline."

Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney writes of McHugh's poetry: "Wonderful fluency and happy skepticism, the world beautifully seen and sung, the word relished and suspected. Lots of impulse and energy, bravura."

McHugh's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Antaeus, the Paris Review, the New Republic, Poetry, Ploughshares, the Virginia Quarterly Review and other periodicals. Her work has been widely anthologized, including in "Best American Poems/1995," "The Norton Introduction to Literature," "The Norton Introduction to Poetry" and "The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets."

In addition to the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has taught at the University of Washington, Seattle, the University of California, Berkeley, Warren Wilson College and the University of Alabama. Among many honors and awards, McHugh is a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award winner (1995-1998), a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award for poetry and the winner of Houghton Mifflin's New Poetry Series Competition, as well as several Pushcart Prizes. Soon to be published are a volume of poems and photographs of Norway, "The Secret Names of the Poets and Philosophers," and a collection of poetry titled "Suicide Postponed."