Upgraded to Serious
Upgraded to Serious
Heather McHugh

This fast-paced, verbally dexterous book—honored as a "Book of the Year" by Publishers Weekly—"boils up and boils over" as it utilizes medical terminology and iconography to work through loss and detachment. Heather McHugh's startling rhymes and rhythms, coupled with her sarcastic self-reflection and infectious laughter, serve as both palliative and prophylactic in the face of human sufferings and ignorance. Being "upgraded to serious" from critical condition is a nod to the healing powers of poetry.

"Not to Be Dwelled On"

Self-interest cropped up even there,
the day I hoisted three instead
of the ceremonially called-for two
spadefuls of loam
onto the coffin of my friend.

Why shovel more than anybody else?
What did I think I'd prove? More love
(mud in her eye)? More will to work?
(her father what, a shirker?) Christ,
what wouldn't anybody give
to get that gesture back?

She cannot die again; and I
do nothing but re-live.

Title Upgraded to Serious
Author Heather McHugh
Publisher Copper Canyon Press
Title First Published 19 June 2012
Format Paperback
Nb of pages
ISBN-10 1556593953
ISBN-13 9781556593956
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Weight 16 oz.
List Price $15.00

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