Biography of Andrew Hudgins
Andrew Hudgins was born into a military family and spent his early childhood moving from base to base. When he was in high school, his family made its last move, to Montgomery, Ala., where his father subsequently retired from the service. Although an average student, Hudgins read voraciously as a child. He decided to become a writer, but, to please his parents who were concerned about his ability to support himself, he earned a teaching certificate while attending college. After graduating in 1974 with a BA in English and history from Huntingdon College, he taught for one year in the Montgomery public school system.
To further his writing ambitions, Hudgins attended the University of Alabama, earning an MA in English in 1976. He then spent two years studying at Syracuse University in New York. Upon his return to Montgomery, he taught composition as an adjunct instructor at Auburn University at Montgomery. He then enrolled in the Writers' Workshop program at the University of Iowa, from which he earned an MFA in 1983. He joined the English department at the University of Cincinnati in 1985 and is now on the English faculty of Ohio State University. Hudgins began publishing his work while still in graduate school. His first book of poems, Saints and Strangers, was published in 1985 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In addition to his many literary awards, Hudgins has also held a number of fellowships in poetry, including residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1986, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004.
Interests and Themes
Some of Andrew Hudgins's poetry has been seen to embody the Southern Gothic tradition: grotesque imagery combined with a strong sense of history, religion, and family. Some of his poems are narrative and are told from the points of view of historic or religious figures. He has also written and published personal essays and literary criticism.
Witter Bynner Award, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1988
Alabama Author Award, Alabama Library Association, 1988, for Saints and Strangers
Hanes Award for Poetry, Fellowship of Southern Writers, 1995
Alabama Author Award, Alabama Library Association, 1996, for The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood
Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer, 2005, Alabama Writers' Forum and Alabama Writers Symposium
Andrew Hudgins's Works:
Diary of a Poem (2011)
American Rendering: New and Selected Poems
Shut up, you're fine!: poems for very, very bad children (2009)
Ecstatic in the Poison (2003)
Babylon in a Jar. 1998. (2001)
The glass anvil (1997)
The Glass Hammer (1994)
The Never-Ending (1991)
Praying drunk (1991)
After the lost war: a narrative (1988)
Saints and Strangers (1985)
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Andrew Hudgins Poems
In The Well
My father cinched the rope, a noose around my waist, and lowered me into the darkness. I could taste
Day Job and Night Job
After my night job, I sat in class and ate, every thirteen minutes, an orange peanut—butter cracker. Bright grease adorned my notes.
Storms of perfume lift from honeysuckle, lilac, clover—and drift across the threshold, outside reclaiming inside as its home. Warm days whirl in a bright unnumberable blur,
Our father liked to play a game. He played that he was dead. He took his thick black glasses off and stretched out on the bed.
When we first heard from blocks away the fog truck's blustery roar, we dropped our toys, leapt from our meals, and scrambled out the door
Home (from Court Square Fountain— where affluent ghosts still importune a taciturn slave to entertain
Our father liked to play a game.
He played that he was dead.
He took his thick black glasses off
and stretched out on the bed.
He wouldn't twitch and didn't snore
or move in any way.
He didn't even seem to breathe!
We asked, Are you okay?