Joshua Mehigan

b. 1969
Joshua Mehigan

Poet Joshua Mehigan grew up in upstate New York and earned a BA from Purchase College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Influenced by the poetry of Philip Larkin, Jorge Luis Borges, and Edgar Bowers, Mehigan writes intelligent, morally complex lyric poems shaped by a nuanced attention to rhyme and meter. Critic Adam Kirsch praised The Optimist in a review for the New York Sun, observing, “Mr. Mehigan is Frost-like in the way he plays speech rhythms against the patterns of verse, creating a tense, deceptively simple music. ... Mr. Mehigan also has something of Frost’s delight in darkness; many of his poems offer the uncomfortable surprise that Poe called the most important element of poetry.” Speaking to that darkness, Mehigan noted, “I’m often trying to approach beauty, humanity, and love through their antitheses. Sometimes I don’t reach my destination.”

The Optimist (2004), Mehigan’s first collection of poetry, won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named a Big Ten University Press Pick by ForeWord magazine. His second book, Accepting the Disaster (2014), was cited in the TLS, the New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere as a best book of the year.

Mehigan has also received a Pushcart Prize, the Dogwood Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Mehigan’s poetry has been featured in several anthologies, including the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets (2009), Poetry: A Pocket Anthology (2007), and Writing Metrical Poetry (2006). His essays and reviews have appeared in the New Criterion, Poetry, and Poetry Daily. In 2011, his essay “I Thought You Were a Poet” won Poetry's Editor's Prize.

Mehigan has worked as an editor and instructor, and lives in New York City.

Poems

What People are Saying

"I do Poetry Out Loud because the everyday me is very shy and easily stumbles over words, mangling meaning and botching simple conversations. Yet, when I recite poetry it is an opportunity for me to become someone else––an embodiment of the poem. Slowly, step by step, I think Poetry Out Loud is helping me to become a braver, more confident person, even if I still tremble when I get on stage."
Rose Horowitz
2016 ME POL Champion