Heather McHugh’s first book in a decade, Muddy Matterhorn, reclaims the mix of high and low that is her sensibility’s signature, in matters practical and philosophical, semantic and stylistic, mortal and transitory, amorous and political, hilarious and heartbreaking. With fierce attacks on technology and social structures, McHugh finds a way to enjoy and empathize with humanity on her own terms. Ever the outsider, McHugh combines a strong sense of self with a determination to love people and the worlds they build without losing her biting criticism or witty rejection of societal norms and expectations. She is both pragmatic and theorizing, esoteric and identifiable. The joy and anger in these poems join to form an empowered and impassioned declaration of self in a chaotic time.
Listen to Heather McHugh read poems from Muddy Matterhorn, with musical accompaniment by Reed Turchi:
“On the Fourth Day”
“Between Beaver and Sappho”
“[McHugh] is relatable, never writing from the lofty heights of the mountain, but walking alongside us, inviting us to play, to puzzle out the strangeness of language with her… [Her] poems teach us to look again and beckon us to find the enigmatic wisdom in the messy highs and lows of living.” —The New York Times
“McHugh demonstrates in her playful and perceptive ninth book a penchant for rhymes and puns as she questions technology and urges the reader to look closely at exactly what she might not want to see, including ‘the terror in the mirror’… [A]n alternately whimsical and serious meditation on contemporary existence.” —Publishers Weekly
“…[F]unny and fascinating and irreverent and frankly, what I need to read more of in this precise moment…” —The Rumpus