TheThe Poetry
≡ Menu

Mary Karr and Christopher Robinson discuss Heather McHugh’s poem “I Knew I’d Sing.”

To get free latest updates, just sign up here

Christopher Robinson's debut novel, War of the Encyclopaedists, co-authored with Gavin Kovite, will be published by Scribner in 2015. You can find his work in The Missouri Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Nimrod, McSweeney’s Online, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, Bread Loaf, and the Djerassi Resident Artist program. He has been a finalist for numerous prizes, including the Ruth Lilly Fellowship and the Yale Younger Poets Prize.

View all contributions by

  • ChristopherPhelps November 27, 2010, 6:24 pm

    Thanks for doing this! I love Heather McHugh. Two forces or objects occupying the same space at the same time is exactly it, I think, her appeal. There’s a perfect word in physics for this: superposition, meaning things entwined but neither blended nor muted. It’s something else than doublespeak, too, her liminal lights and darks between play and serium; between words as wound springs and words as windows. It’s a nervous tension she ends up giving us, which in a sleepier vein feels like negative capability. Hers is positive, as well.

  • KateBB January 24, 2011, 9:12 pm

    Groveling? Rather than that, I believe HM is rejecting her mother’s high mindedness in favor of earthiness, an earthiness essential to the writing of honest poetry. Nothing is beneath being sung about.

  • Christina Pacosz January 25, 2011, 3:55 pm

    Disappointing that the word c… is bleeped several times. How unfortunate but typical of what is happening out there in terms of using this word and others with pride and/or best choice for the poem. The deletion of the word ruins the discussion of the poem for me.

Leave a Comment