Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Richard Hugo (HYEW-goh) confirmed his reputation as a beloved professor with the 1979 publication of his book on craft, The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing. In the title essay, he distinguishes between the initiating or triggering subject of a poem (for him, a small town that has seen better days) and its real subject. A posthumous collection of essays, The Real West Marginal Way: A Poet’s Autobiography, appeared in 1986, edited by his wife, Ripley S. Hugo, and colleagues Lois M. and James Welch.

Featuring a retired Seattle detective who becomes a deputy sheriff in a small Montana town, Hugo’s mystery novel Death and the Good Life (1981) was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. A second novel with the same character was planned but never completed. Hugo also published reviews and articles in literary journals; his papers can be found in the University of Washington Archives.