Richard Hugo

Hugo House was named for the poet Richard Hugo, who was born in White Center, a gritty part of Seattle. He was raised in mean poverty by hardscrabble relatives, working for many years at Boeing. Hugo eventually moved beyond the grief and squalor of his upbringing, in large part by writing poetry. He became widely admired nationally and inspired countless aspiring writers. He reached beginning poets not only in his classes at the University of Montana, but all over the country through his book, The Triggering Town, which collects his essays and lectures that were “directed toward helping [the writer] with that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems.”

From The Triggering Town:

“It can be argued that all writing is creative writing, since if one is writing the way one should, one does not know what will be on the page until it is there. Discovery remains the ideal.”

“Your words used your way will generate your meanings. Your obsessions lead you to your vocabulary. Your way of writing locates, even creates, your inner life.”

“Words love the ridiculous areas of our minds.”

“There are usual people who try desperately to appear unusual and there are unusual people who try to appear usual.”

“Never want to say anything so strongly that you give up the option of finding something better.”

“One simple thing about writing: it is like shooting a basketball. You’ve got to stay in shape and practice to do it well.”

“I find words beautiful that ring with psychic truth and sound meant. If such a choice were possible, I would far rather mean what I say than say what I mean.”

“To use language well requires self-sacrifice, even giving up pet ideas.”

“A good creative writing teacher can save a good writer a lot of time. Writing is tough, and many wrong paths can be taken”

“We are all going into the dark. Some of us hope that before we do we have been honest enough to scream back at the fates.”