Richard Hugo

(1923 - 1982 / Washington / United States)

Richard Hugo
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Richard Hugo (December 21, 1923 - October 22, 1982), born Richard Hogan, was an American poet. Primarily a regionalist, Hugo's work reflects the economic depression of the Northwest, particularly Montana. Born in White Center, Washington, he was raised by his mother's parents after his father left the family. In 1942 he legally changed his name to Richard Hugo, taking his stepfather's surname. He served in World War II as a bombardier in the Mediterranean. He left the service in 1945 after flying 35 combat missions and reaching the rank of first lieutenant.

Hugo received his B.A. in 1948 and his M.A. in 1952 in Creative Writing from the University of Washington where he studied ... more »

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  • Bronze Star - 2,130 Points Michael Walker (1/21/2015 9:23:00 PM)

    I like Hugo's poems set in the Pacific Northwest very much. you often imagine a man on his own driving around to remote, lost towns, which have seen better times. The car is a feature that I like in the poems. in the towns, you meet a few characters who are anonymous yet memorable too- like the prisoner and the red-haired waitress in 'Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg'. Richard Hugo's poems are full of life and vigour, written in a modern form.

  • Bronze Star - 2,130 Points Michael Walker (1/21/2015 9:23:00 PM)

    I like Hugo's poems set in the Pacific Northwest very much. you often imagine a man on his own driving around to remote, lost towns, which have seen better times. The car is a feature that I like in the poems. in the towns, you meet a few characters who are anonymous yet memorable too- like the prisoner and the red-haired waitress in 'Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg'. Richard Hugo's poems are full of life and vigour, written in a modern form.

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Best Poem of Richard Hugo

Degrees Of Gray In Philipsburg

You might come here Sunday on a whim.
Say your life broke down. The last good kiss
you had was years ago. You walk these streets
laid out by the insane, past hotels
that didn't last, bars that did, the tortured try
of local drivers to accelerate their lives.
Only churches are kept up. The jail
turned 70 this year. The only prisoner
is always in, not knowing what he's done.

The principal supporting business now
is rage. Hatred of the various grays
the mountain sends, hatred of the mill,
The Silver Bill repeal, the best liked girls
who leave each year ...

Read the full of Degrees Of Gray In Philipsburg

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