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Christina Pugh

Born: in Buffalo, NY
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Pugh lives in Evanston.

Biography: Christina Pugh is a professor in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Consulting Editor for Poetry magazine. She has published numerous critical articles on poetry and poetics.

  • Rotary Word Press First Book Prize, 2003
  • Other Awards and Honors AWP Intro Journals Award, 2000; Lucille Medwick Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America

Primary Literary Genre(s): Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Ghosts and the Overplus: Reading Poetry in the Twenty-First Century (Poets On Poetry)
ISBN: 0472039601 OCLC: [S.l.] :

University of Michigan Press [S.l.] : 2024

Ghosts and the Overplus is a celebration of lyric poetry in the twenty-first century and how lyric poetry incorporates the voices of our age as well as the poetic “ghosts” from the past. Acclaimed poet and award-winning teacher Christina Pugh is fascinated by how poems continually look backward into literary history. Her essays find new resonance in poets ranging from Emily Dickinson to Gwendolyn Brooks to the poetry of the present. Some of these essays also consider the way that poetry interacts with the visual arts, dance, and the decision to live life as a nonconformist. This wide-ranging collection showcases the critical discussions around poetry that took place in America over the first two decades of our current millennium. Essay topics include poetic forms continually in migration, such as the sonnet; poetic borrowings across visual art and dance; and the idiosyncrasies of poets who lived their lives against the grain of literary celebrity and trend. What unites all of these essays is a drive to dig more deeply into the poetic word and act: to go beyond surface reading in order to reside longer with poems. In essays both discursive and personal, Pugh shows that poetry asks us to think differently—in a way that gathers feeling into the realm of thought, thereby opening the mysteries that reside in us and in the world around us.

Grains of the Voice: Poems
ISBN: 0810152282 OCLC: 801996924

TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. : ©2013.

Christina Pugh’s Grains of the Voice exhibits a pervasive fascination with sound in all its manifestations. The hu­man voice, musical instruments, the sounds produced by the natural and man-made worlds—all serve at one time or another as both the framework of poems and the occa­sion for their lightning-quick changes of direction, of tone, of point of reference. The poems are eclectic in their al­lusiveness, filled with echoes—and sometimes the words themselves—of other poets, but just as often of songs both popular and obscure, of the noise of pop culture, and of philosophers’ writings. But Pugh always wears her learn­ing lightly. Beneath the jewellike surfaces of her poems is a strenuous investigation of the nature of and need for communication and a celebration of the endless variety of its forms.

ISBN: 1935536885 OCLC: 957705002

A suite of minimalist lyric poems punctuated by prose poems explores the mysteries of visual perception and its relationship to poetic language.

Restoration: Poems (Triquarterly)
ISBN: 0810152053 OCLC: 221160755

TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. : ©2008.

Complex and focused, this collection of poems moves along the line between waking and sleeping to reveal a narrator who is contemplating her origins as well as her future. Pugh frequently turns in her work to the image of a bed--as a source of comfort, an erotic landing, and a place for dreaming. For Pugh, dreams both obscure and reveal, their language a code to be analyzed, as in her longer meditation inspired by Freud's case history

ISBN: 1932339345 OCLC: 61455730

Word Press, Cincinnati, OH : ©2004.

Winner of the 2003 Word Press First Book Prize

Stardust Media (Juniper Prize for Poetry)
ISBN: 1625345119 OCLC:

University of Massachusetts Press 2020

Christina Pugh's fifth book of poems explores the technologies both ancient and new that inhabit our contemporary cultural moment. Mapping an uncanny journey through the clusters of media we encounter daily but seldom stop to contemplate, Pugh's focused descriptions, contrasting linguistic textures, and acute poetic music become multifarious sources of beauty, disruption, humor, and hurt. Here, Netflix and YouTube share space with eighteenth-century paintings, Italian graffiti, ballet, Kurt Cobain's recordings, and even a collection of rocks. Whether technology is a vessel for joy or grief in these poems, it is always an expression of our continuing desire to invent and to mediate. At once personal archive and cultural barometer, Stardust Media traces the moving constellations of life in the distant twenty-first century, "a kaleidoscope / . . . half-filled with sky-blue glass-cut blossoming, / then labored to crystallize."