By Richard Hugo
Richard Hugo, whom Carolyn Kizer has known as” some of the most passionate, full of life, and sincere poets living,” the following deals a unprecedented number of new poems, each a “letter” or a “dream.” either letters and goals are exact manifestations of alone-ness; Hugo’s unique senses of alone-ness, of areas, and of alternative individuals are the forces at the back of his distinctively American and more and more authoritative poetic voice.
Each letter is written from a particular position that Hugo has made his personal (a “triggering town,” as he has referred to as it somewhere else) to a chum, a fellow poet, an previous love. We learn over the poet’s shoulder because the city triggers the mind's eye, the friendship is re-opened, the poet’s selfhood is explored and illuminated. The “dreams” take place without notice (as desires do) one of the letters; their haunting pictures supply extra intensity to the poet’s exploration. Are we overhearing them? who's the “you” that dreams?
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31 Letters and 13 Dreams: Poems by Richard Hugo