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Eyeshot (Wesleyan Poetry) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   54
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.24 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 31, 2004
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819566721  
EAN  9780819566720  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Heather McHugh's new book, Eyeshot, is a brooding, visionary work that takes aim at the big questions--those of love and death. The poems suggest that such immensities balance on the smallest details, and that a range of human blindness is inescapable.

The power of this new work comes from its delicate yet tenacious fidelity to the ever-unfolding senses of sense. The poems invite the reader to follow careening words and insights through passages both playful and profound. Her "Fido, Jolted by Jove" reveals the tension endemic to both language and living: "the world itself is worried." Yet the same poem remarks the high price of any reductive fix: "a brain this insecure may need another bolt be driven in it." This movement between anxiety and the human compulsion for order informs Eyeshot's darkly comic, 20/20 acuity.

Buy Eyeshot (Wesleyan Poetry) by Heather McHugh from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780819566720 & 0819566721

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More About Heather McHugh

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Heather McHugh is the author of numerous books of poetry, including "Eyeshot" and "Hinge & Sign." She teaches at the University of Washington in Seattle and at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.

Heather McHugh was born in 1948.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > McHugh, Heather   [6  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General   [19247  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States   [6288  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century   [6376  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General   [6288  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
No pain, no gain.  Apr 21, 2008
The two things you should know about Heather McHugh's "Eyeshot" are that it can be difficult to understand what many of her phrases and even entire poems mean at first glance, and that it can be very rewarding when you do get into them, rereading them five, ten times, and start sorting everything out. McHugh deals with language in a number of different ways (she considers sounds, etymology, idiomatic phrasing, slang, techno-speak, and more) and often brings up multiple language issues at once. In addition, she is actively obscuring pieces of her poem, like the strict iambic meter and the concrete details. So what she ends up with are formal poems telling narrative stories or capturing real images, but hidden away behind free-verse explorations of words and wordplay, and the reader must work to figure everything out. And it can be hard work indeed. But, since McHugh excels not only in both of these modes of writing, but in the marrying of them together, it can be very satisfying once the words and images start falling into place. As other reviewers have mentioned, images and themes of eyes and sight are covered throughout the book, and this adds an additional challenge: once you start solving the puzzles of the individual poems, you can begin to consider how they relate to each other.

Two of the more accessible poems in the book are "Goner's B*ner" and "The Retort Room," which feature McHugh's signature style in phrases like "Is it a mistake / or a misgiving?" and "past eking out, past aching in," and I would recommend that a reader new to her writing start there.
"Only real/ love-moans, and wonders un-translatable"  Apr 26, 2005
Eyeshot. Earshot. Snapshot. I shot. Eyes shot. eYes... hot. Heather McHugh's latest book is--aye--hot. Written toward a readership as enamored with language as she, Eyeshot (exa)mines language at the level beneath ordinary diction for its twinkling possibilities, its intersections, its coincidences. McHugh's poetry recognizes (and flowers forth from) root alphabetic patterns and cadences in the music of her own speech: puns, anagrams, homonyms, iambs, internal and end rhymes, words spelled backwards that make other words, words contained within other words, words suggested by other words. Pupils. Blind dates. An "eye-gulp" (seen in a flash as "eye-plug"). As lush and seductive as the "purple burning overspill[ing]/ the porch-side torches of the lilac," McHugh's voice at once defies boundaries and leverages traditional form to accentuate sound, sight, and meaning.

In fact, she seems just as interested in what the eye and ear can do with language--how they receive and process linguistic information through distortion, dissection, truncation, and recombination--as with the understandings that emanate organically from such radically experimental seeing and hearing. Her poems are not self-consciously epiphanic, rather exploratory, inquisitive, ironic, and progressive in the most literal sense: that is, they arrive at meaning through a progression of linguistic play and connections. For example, the simple phrase "You're your/ own owner, no?" opens into much more than a cute case of phonic repetition and reversal, where the ghosted "know"--do you know yourself?--inherits its semantic weight from the visual and aural convergences in these two lines.

While many of her poems deal seriously with such themes as love, displacement, and death, humor is the overarching characteristic that sustains McHugh's elaborate project: "Somebody spell us! Help!" Accident and absurdity seem to govern her universe. Bird calls are deciphered in the most outlandish ways: "Potato chips!", "Who cooks for you?" and "Quick, quick, give me the raincheck!" And who else would address a brain in a jar, outrageously, as "O single-minded/ one!" Still, McHugh's work remains grounded in poignant moments of arrival, where "on the one hand... in the scheme of things we matter/ marvelously little; on the other,... we are// the scheme of things."
Randy Dandy  Apr 18, 2005
McHugh's "Eyeshot" is a jungle of puns, double-entendres, triple-phrase-turns and bizarre zingers. Its title alone announces the kind of humorous (though not exactly light-hearted) indeterminacy McHugh sets whirring to get her through each poem. This book is as entertaining and admirable an example of linguistic bootstrapping as any, as in "Iquity": "No need for misery: in cine-pop / a little extra nookie on the side; in cine-mom your / hubbie hurries home. (Hi, hon.) Your honor, honest, / is not implicated. Soothers / must, by definition, say / no terrifying truths." All McHugh needs to jump into higher gears is her ear and/or dictionary.

Few books of "serious" poetry inspire outright laughter, but be prepared for numerous outbursts: "I pray / this baby we are seeing walloped, wiped and winningly anointed, / turns out dumb as oakum-and more sinister. That way / he can crown a tranquil life by being / appoined a cabinet minister." ("After Su Tung P'o") McHugh is masterful at dropping in rhymes at just the right moment, and her aural/verbal play never takes a breather, much less a breath: "My one / and only: money / minus one. No noun / like a pronoun!-best of all / the jealous kind. Come, come, / company doll, cide with a coin, / one moan, one / more, honey / bunch." ("The Magic Cube") This is a poet for whom the materiality and cross-pollination of words is an endlessly amusing miracle.

Yet McHugh is equally in love with sight: "Years I poured it forth, without / a thought. To left and right / I sprayed the wide world's / spectacle. I made a blue / bird sparkle, and a red tree" ("Out of Eyeshot"). The blur of senses, the blur of seeing, and the blur of being form the central concern of this book. McHugh finds nothing so serious, either: "Downline, it's not / our substance pours away: / it is our shine." ("Mind's Eye"); "The world / itself is worried. Trees stand out, spectacularly / branched: the mind's eye grows alert: this thing / could hurt." ("Fido, Jolted by Jove") Perception shapes reality-and this cliché sheds its banality in McHugh's deft leaps. Not often does one encounter a book of poetry so saturated with exuberance, for language or for living.
A collection of free-verse poetry  Mar 13, 2005
Eyeshot is a collection of free-verse poetry. The common theme of the wide range of human blindness - from literally being unable to see to willfully refusing to see what lies before one - permeates these often dark verses, sometimes brooding and anxious, sometimes laced with black humor. "Through" (After Sully Prudhomme) In blue or black, all lovely and beloved, / Some countless human eyes have seen the dawn. / They're sleeping at the bottom of the grave. / Here comes the sun. // But far more delicately than the days / The nights ignite in countless eyes a spark. / The stars are always sending out their rays: / Eyes fill with dark. // That they should lose their glimmer, one and all- / No way. It simply isn't possible. / I say they've turned toward the side we call / Invisible. // And like the stars that must incline to set / They too are somewhere out there in the sky; / The eye-lights may go down at times and yet / They do not die. // All lovely or beloved, in black and blue, / To any dawn's immensities disposed / On earth's far side they're seeing through / The lids we closed.
Awe-inspiring use of language.  Nov 11, 2004
Heather McHugh, Eyeshot (Wesleyan, 2003)

The best thing about Eyeshot is Heather McHugh's amazing use of language; it's like reading John M. Bennett without the dyslexia and cut-up/fold-in stuff. McHugh has one of the strongest senses of rhythm, both in formal and free verse, I've come across in quite a while, and it usually manifests itself without drawing attention to the form (in those poems where one exists in this collection; the forms here are usually on the loose side anyway), an amazing achievement in a time when formal poetry may not be dead, but is lying in hospice, suffocated by the weight of a million teen-angst poets who think sonnets are for sissies and have never heard the word "canzone." Read this. **** ½

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