Richard Hugo visited places and wrote about them. He wrote about towns: White Center and La Push in Washington; Wallace and Cataldo in Idaho; Milltown, Philipsburg, and Butte in Montana. Often his visits lasted little more than an afternoon, and his knowledge of the towns was confined to what he heard in bars and diners. From these snippets, he crafted poems. His attention to the actual places could be scant, but Hugo's poems resonate more deeply than travelogues or feature stories; they capture the torque between temperament and terrain that is so vital in any consideration of place. The poems bring alive some hidden aspect to each town and play off the traditional myths that an easterner might have of the West: that it is a place of restoration and healing, a spa where people from the East come to recover from ailments; that it is a place to reinvent oneself, a region of wide open, unpolluted country still to settle. Hugo steers us, as readers, to eye level. How we settle into and take on qualities of the tracts of earth that we occupy -- this is Hugo's inquiry.
Part travelogue, part memoir, part literary scholarship, The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs traces the journey of Frances McCue and photographer Mary Randlett to the towns that inspired many of Richard Hugo's poems. Returning forty years after Hugo visited these places, and bringing with her a deep knowledge of Hugo and her own poetic sensibility, McCue maps Hugo's poems back onto the places that triggered them. Together with twenty-three poems by Hugo, McCue's essays and Randlett's photographs offer a fresh view of Hugo's Northwest.
Watch the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8_W1FZn06w
Frances McCue is a writer and poet living in Seattle, where she is writer-in-residence at the University of Washington's Undergraduate Honors Program. She was the founding director of Richard Hugo House from 1996 to 2006. McCue is the author of The Stenographer's Breakfast, winner of the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. Mary Randlett is a Northwest photographer noted for her portraits of artists and writers. Mary Randlett Landscapes celebrates her photographs of the natural world.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Setting Out White Center, Riverside, and the Duwamish "Duwamish" "West Marginal Way" "Duwamish Head" "Duwamish No. 2" "White Center" Along the Duwamish Cataldo, Idaho "Cataldo Mission" Overlooking the Mission Wallace, Idaho "Letter to Gildner from Wallace" The Last Stoplight Dixon and St. Ignatius, Montana "The Only Bar in Dixon" "Dixon" "St. Ignatius Where the Salish Wail" The Flathead Goes Home North Northwest Milltown, Montana "The Milltown Union Bar" "Letter to Logan from Milltown" "To Die in Milltown" "Elegy" Under the Shadow of the Milltown Walkerville, Montana / Butte, America "Letter to Levertov from Butte" Where the Poor Look Down Upon the Rich and Some People Dance the Cool-Water Hula Philipsburg, Montana - "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg" - Where the Red Hair Lights the Wall Silver Star, Montana "Silver Star" Short Story in Silver Star Pony, Montana "Letter to Oberg from Pony" Prose Poems in Pony Fairfield, Montana "Fairfield" "High Grass Prairie" Not This Town La Push, Washington "La Push" "Letter to Bly from La Push" The Last Places Epilogue at Taholah, Washington "Tahola" "Road Ends at Tahola" Epilogue Notes