Richard Hugo, born Richard Hogan, was an American poet, born on December 21, 1923 in White Center, Washington. He was raised by his mother’s parents after his father left the family. In 1942 he legally changed his name to Richard Hugo, taking his stepfather’s surname. He served in World War II as a bombardier in the Mediterranean. He left the service in 1945 after flying 35 combat missions and reaching the rank of first lieutenant.
Hugo received his B.A. in 1948 and his M.A. in 1952 in Creative Writing from the University of Washington where he studied under Theodore Roethke. He married Barbara Williams in 1952, the same year he stated working as a technical writer for Boeing.
In 1961 his first book of poems, A Run of Jacks, was published. Soon after he took a teaching job at the University of Montana. His wife returned to Seattle in 1964, and they divorced soon afterwards.
Hugo got remarried in 1974 to Ripley Schemm Hansen. In 1977 he was named the editor of the Yale Younger Poets Series.
Hugo died on October 22, 1982.