The Sealey Challenge: Feeler

Heather McHugh's FELLER, with a bug on it, in front of greenery & cupplant flowers.

Heather McHugh’s Feeler is very much a poetry of the quotidian, which I suppose makes sense given its cover: a bug and its feeler. (It’s a startling cover.)

McHugh moves from the natural world and its interactions with us (including a tide that washes up disembodied feet) to emotions ranging from the petty to the profound, bouncing as she goes off a deep, abiding uneasiness with technology. (Is that supposed to be there? I have no idea. But it certainly seems a presence to me, jumping out in “Bad Dream for Life,” but elsewhere as well.)

Daily life deserves its poetry—I mean, really, it’s there already—and McHugh gives it a baronial go, alloting weight and importance to everything from a screaming baby to that dance we all do in our cars, when we’re trying to pretend we don’t see someone outside. The threads of concern about tech feel, at times, a little out of date—we’re in a world beset by plague, after all, and for all its thousand thousand problems, technology has meant that we can at least still talk face to face.

Overall, however, Feeler is a timely work, exploring the dangers and the pettiness and the beauty of this workaday world of ours, turning them into poetry.

3 responses to “The Sealey Challenge: Feeler”

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