Motto and Tags

“Upgraded to Serious”

Upgraded to Serious (Lannan Literary Selections)Perhaps Heather McHugh was joking when she named her eighth book of poetry “Upgraded to Serious.” Or perhaps it is simply a nod of understanding that, especially in a fast-paced, technological world, things are not always as overwhelming as we perceive them to be. McHugh gives the ancient art of poetry new, thoroughly modern twists, with slang and clever puns touching on politics, death and technology. In her poem “Webcam the World,” she comments on the up-to-the-minute news atmosphere facilitated by the Internet: “Get all of it. Set up the shots/ at every angle; run them online/ 24-7 … There’s nothing
 unastonishing — but get that, too.” She sets up a momentum and keeps the reader’s eyes latched to her words. As Carmine Starnino for The Globe and Mail says, “McHugh’s poems are not whiz-bang affairs: Her thinking moves crabwise, cross-referring, linking up, branching out … In fact, we might even say McHugh has pioneered a new poetic genre: the meditative cliffhanger. Her poems take the shape of an idea or mood clarifying itself in stages, leaving readers on tenterhooks to find out where she’ll go next.”


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