The Real West Marginal Way: A Poet's Autobiography

Richard Hugo, Author, Ripley S. Hugo, Author, James Welch, Editor W. W. Norton & Company $16.95 (261p) ISBN 978-0-393-02326-8
Hugo's poetry is about the search for roots, our need to adapt to change so that everywhere is home; his poems embrace the whole American landscape. These loosely assembled, autobiographical and critical essays by the poet take us from his neurotic childhood in Seattle, where he was raised by strict grandparents who beat him, through a stint of teaching and hard drinking in Montana, to his treatment in psychotherapy and his happy, productive second marriage. One piece about his World War II experience as a pilot draws sardonic parallels to Catch-22. The title essay on West Marginal Way, a street in his hometown near Puget Sound, reveals that Hugo (who died in 1982) continually returned to rivers and to nature for inspiration. Also included are occasional pieces on his obsessions, baseball and movies, and an amusing essay explaining how his over-identification with Wallace Stevens enabled him to keep writing. (September 29)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1986
Release date: 10/01/1986
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