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Here is Mr. Frog again! This time, he is not a misfit in our world, because we, humans, are not that friendly to animals after all, and like to impose judgments on these creatures who have a penchant for relishing insects. As a kid, I got overly excited when I spotted all kinds of animals including frogs. I was particularly interested in how they croak, and imitated them in front of younger children, who were scared of my ingenious voicing. As an adult, even though I am not intimate with frogs, I still have a knack for catching them. When I was working on a farm with my friends on a service trip in New Orleans, I caught a frog in my hand, and the girl standing near me was in awe of my skill. I was secretly proud of myself and at the same time afraid that the frog would bite my pinkie off for revenge of its capture. I know frogs have slimy skins and some people regard it as ugly, but you might discover some interesting facts about them by observing through a magnifying glass (Mr. Frog actually toys with mini-cameras to take unsolicited photos of his sleeping brother, with saliva dripping off his nose.). The ways we interact with and understand our surroundings change as angles of our perception shift. If you are curious to see how poetry explores diverse perceptions of the world through different lenses constructed by disoriented language and rich imagery, come to hear Pugh’s poetry reading of her newest book, Perception.

Pugh’s poems, many of which are written in fragments of delicate imagery, urge us to pause and look at our surroundings closely. Her languages in the end stop lines describe objects in microscopic views, as if observed from an aperture or a lens. Her poetry also asserts that perception is quantifiable and measurable, and it carries risk when we (as readers and viewers) selectively store mental images with our limited perception. When these appear on the page through the medium of language, the raw impression that the world leaves on us diminishes. Her poems are multifaceted and they defamiliarize the world we live in from a fresh angle created in her idiosyncratic language.

Here is the bio of this cool poet:

Christina Pugh is the author of four full-length books of poems: Perception(Four Way Books, forthcoming 2017); Grains of the Voice (Northwestern University Press, 2013); Restoration (TriQuarterly Books, 2008); and Rotary (Word Press, 2004); and the chapbook Gardening at Dusk (Wells College Press, 2002). Her poems have appeared in journals such as the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry magazine, TriQuarterlyPloughshares, Kenyon Review, and in anthologies such as Poetry 180 (2003).

Pugh earned a PhD in comparative literature from Harvard University, where she was awarded a Whiting Foundation dissertation fellowship. She continues to publish criticism as well as poetry, with scholarly interests centering on the poetics of ekphrasis, poetic form and meter, the lyric poem as a genre, and manuscript scholarship treating the work of Emily Dickinson. Her articles have appeared in the Emily Dickinson Journal, Literary Imagination, and The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Post-1945 (2013), among others. Her book reviews have appeared in Poetry magazine, Verse, Ploughshares, and Harvard Review. 

Pugh has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Word Press First Book Prize (for Rotary), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, an individual artist fellowship in poetry from the Illinois Arts Council, the Associated Writing Programs’ Intro Journals Award, and the Grolier Poetry Prize. She has been granted residencies at the Bogliasco Foundation, Ragdale, Ucross, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, Pugh received a faculty fellowship from the Institute for the Humanities, a Graduate Mentoring Award for outstanding mentoring of graduate students, a Teaching Recognition Program award, and a Dean’s Award for Faculty Research in the Humanities.

Pugh is consulting editor for Poetry and a professor in the Program for Writers (the PhD program in creative writing) at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Christina Pugh will read on September 27, 2017 in the Hammes Campus Bookstore at 7:30 p.m. Come and bring your friends 🙂

I’ll be there.



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