From the Towers

By Heather McHugh b. 1948 Heather McHugh Read the Q & A
Insanity is not a want of reason.
It is reason's overgrowth, a calculating kudzu.

Explaining why, in two-ton manifesti, thinkers sally forth
with testaments and pipe bombs. Heaven help us:

spare us all your meaningful designs. Shine down or
shower forth, but (for the earthling's sake) ignore
all prayers followed by against, or for. Teach us to bear

life's senselessness, our insignificance, and more;
let's call that sanity. The terrifying prospect isn't some
escapist with a novel, fond of comfort, munching sweets—

it is the busy hermeneut, so serious he's sour, intent on making
meaning of us all, and bursting from the towers to the streets.

Source: Poetry (March 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2008
 Heather  McHugh

Biography

Poet Heather McHugh’s work is noted for its rhetorical gestures, sharp puns and interest in the materials of language itself—her self-described determination is “to follow every surge of language, every scrap and flotsam.” Describing her work in the Boston Review, poet and critic Richard Howard alleged that “most of McHugh’s poems end in a spurt, as they proceed in a slather, of just such astonishment as is bestowed—afforded—by . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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