Like we needed the MacArthur Foundation to confirm it! Congrats to Heather McHugh -- one of those rare beings electric both on the page and in person...
Here's a bit of what Seattle Times staff reporter Erik Lacitis has to say:
McHugh grew up in rural Virginia in a family that loved the arts. She is the middle child of a marine biologist and a stay-at-home mom. At age 5, she assembled her first poetry book, with cardboard cover and ribbon binding.
She entered Harvard at age 16, and by age 18 had seen one of her poems published in The New Yorker magazine, an accomplishment for anybody at any age.
McHugh said she believes "wondrousness" is available to everybody, not just poets.
"In the middle of an ordinary day, wrench yourself out of the dead language and back into the language where you can never repeat anything!" she told The Times. "That state of mind is hard, partly because the Wal-marts recur and McDonald's recur. So, the thing is, find the one French fry like no other and really enjoy it."
The Times' story said McHugh actually likes hanging out at McDonald's, where "they let you have a booth, and they leave you alone." For every couplet she wrote, she said, she rewarded herself with a French fry.
During my time at Stanford, McHugh gave the best colloquium -- no question. Her lectures are always dynamic...
For your listening pleasure.