Hudgins, Andrew 1951–
Hudgins, Andrew 1951–
(Andrew Leon Hudgins, Jr.)
PERSONAL: Born April 22, 1951, in Killeen, TX; son of Andrew L. (in the U.S. Air Force) and Roberta (Rodgers) Hudgins. Education: Huntingdon College, Montgomery, AL, B.A., 1974; University of Alabama, M.A., 1976; postgraduate study at Syracuse University, 1976–78; University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1983.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, Ohio State University, 164 Denney Hall, 164 W. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1370. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Carver Elementary School, Montgomery, AL, teacher, 1973–74; Auburn University, Montgomery, AL, adjunct instructor in composition, 1978–81; Baylor University, Waco, TX, lecturer in composition, 1984–85; Coal Royalty Professor of English, University of Alabama, fall, 1996; Johns Hopkins University, visiting professor of creative writing, spring, 1999; University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, associate professor of English, beginning 1985; Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, Humanities Distinguished Professor of English.
MEMBER: Texas Institute of Letters.
AWARDS, HONORS: Wallace Stegner fellow in poetry at Stanford University, 1983–84; fellow at Yaddo Writers' Colony, summers, 1983, 1985, 1987, and 1988; Academy of American Poets award, 1984; John Atherton fellow in poetry at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 1985; nominated for Pulitzer Prize in poetry, award from Society of Midland Authors, and award from Texas Institute of Letters, all 1986, New Writers Award in poetry from Great Lakes Colleges Association and Alabama Library Association award, both 1987, all for Saints and Strangers; fellow at MacDowell Colony, summer, 1986; fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, 1986, and Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA, 1986–87; grant from Ingram Merrill Foundation, 1987; Witter Bynner Foundation Prize for poetry from American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1988; Poets' Prize, 1988, for After the Lost War: A Narrative; Alfred Hodder fellow at Princeton University, 1989–90; Texas Institute of Letters Poetry Award for The Never-Ending: New Poems, 1991; Rieveschl Award for Scholarly and Creative Work, University of Cincinnati, 1994; James G. Hanes Poetry Prize, Fellowship of Southern Writers, 1995; Taft Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, University of Cincinnati, 1996; Ohiana Poetry Award, Ohio Library Association for lifetime contributions to poetry in Ohio, 1997; Frederick Bock Award, 1997.
Saints and Strangers (poetry), introduction by John Frederick Nims, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1985.
After the Lost War: A Narrative (poetry), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1988.
The Never-Ending: New Poems, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1991.
The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood (poetry), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1994.
The Glass Anvil (essays), University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1997.
Babylon in a Jar (poetry), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1998.
(Editor, with Janice Whittington) The Waltz He Was Born For: An Introduction to the Writings of Walt McDonald, Texas Tech University Press (Lubbock, TX), 2002.
Ecstatic in the Poison: New Poems, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2003.
Hudgins's poetry, fiction, and essays have been anthologized in: The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, edited by Leon Stokesbury, University of Arkansas Press, 1987; Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, edited by John Frederick Nims, McGraw Hill, 1992; An Introduction to Poetry, 8th edition, edited by X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, HarperCollins, 1994; The Columbia Book of Civil War Poetry, edited by Richard Marius, Columbia University Press, 1994; The Best American Poetry 1995, edited by Richard Howard and David Lehman, Scribner's, 1995; The Invisible Ladder: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poems for Young Readers, edited by Liz Rosenberg, Holt, 1996; Hard Choices: An Iowa Review Reader, edited by David Hamilton, University of Iowa Press, 1996; Rebel Angels: Twenty-five Poets of the New Formalism, edited by Mark Jarman and David Mason, Story Line Press, 1996; Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry, Oxford University Press, 1997; Poetry: An Introduction, edited by Michael Meyer, Bedford Books, 1998; The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology, edited by William L. Andrews, Norton, 1998; and The Best American Poetry 1998, edited by John Hollander and David Lehman, Scribner's, 1998. Contributor of short stories, poems, and articles to literary journals, including American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Atlantic, Crazyhorse, Iowa Review, Nation, New Republic, New Yorker, North American Review Ploughshares, Poetry, Shenandoah, Missouri Review, Sequoia, Southern Review, and Chariton Review.
Published sound recordings include Marilyn Chin and Andrew Hudgins Reading Their Poems, 1994, and Andrew Hudgins Reading from His Poetry and Interviewed by Grace Cavalieri, 1994.
SIDELIGHTS: Poet Andrew Hudgins is the author of several collections of acclaimed verse, including such works as Saints and Strangers, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986. The book was commended by critics for its striking embodiment of the Southern Gothic tradition of American literature; the poems swell with sanguinary images of guilt, sacrifice, and powerlessness. In the volume, Hudgins sketches such convincing characters as the evangelical preacher's daughter who pilfers loose change from the collection plate to tip her father's waitress, and the compelling, conscience-stricken man who finds himself unable to confront two poachers gutting a doe. The poet evokes this tragic but grand world with an energy and richness of style that render his poems "equal to their landscape," according to Peter Stitt in his New York Times Book Review critique. L.M. Rosenberg anticipated Hudgins's second volume in a Chicago Tribune Books article and referred to his debut as a work "of masterful accomplishment, moodiness, balance, and even greater promise."
Again drawing inspiration from the South, Hudgins took Georgia poet and Confederate soldier Sidney Lanier as the subject of his next work, After the Lost War: A Narrative. Lanier's story—structured primarily in tetrameters of blank verse—encompasses his trials in the Civil War and his protracted and ultimately losing battle with tuberculosis. The soldier's biography unfolds in a series of dramatic monologues of strongly visual, contemporary language. Noting Hudgins's attention to his craft, Henri Coulette remarked in the Los Angeles Times Book Review: "There is a quality that good witnesses and great liars share—particularity of detail—and Hudgins possesses this in the extreme, whether describing the horrors of war, the fevers of illness or a dog covered with porcupine quills."
With The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood Hudgins uses his art to delve deeply into his own past and juxtaposes this with the present. For example, in one poem he recalls his father's sometimes violent acts against his children, though Hudgins portrays him as "brutal but not cruel," according to Booklist reviewer Ray Olson. The poem continues into the present with Hudgins now seeing his father as an old and weak man and longing to see his strength again. "Eros and Thanatos show up repeatedly as Hudgins recalls family deaths and their deep mysteries," reported Olson. A Publishers Weekly contributor described the collection as "poetry of aggressive charm."
Reviewers were less enthusiastic about the poet's 1998 collection Babylon in a Jar, with several critics complaining that Hudgins failed to use language as adeptly as in previous works. Poetry writer David Yezzi suggested that this was a result of the poet's attempt to improve his technique, commenting that the narrative verses are "full of pathos and quirky humor, and excellently well told up to a point," but that in an attempt to be more direct the "language grows flat, prosy, watered down." A Publishers Weekly contributor similarly noted that "Hudgins' technical virtuosity cannot offset the colorlessness of his language" and that the verses "lack emotional urgency."
Hudgins departed from his typical narrative verses that tell stories and create characters to attempt a "more lyrical work" in Ecstatic in the Poison: New Poems, according to a Publishers Weekly critic. The lifestyle of middle-class America is still his main concern, however. Antioch Review contributor Ned Balbo observed that the collection "is vintage Hudgins in its skill, economy, and sense of mischief." Library Journal reviewer Rochelle Ratner characterized the collection as a group of "elliptical poems that hint at a story but leave far too much to the reader's imagination." Balbo, however, insisted that Hudgins manages "to uncover a more substantial grace or truth" in these verses.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Antioch Review, winter, 2004, Ned Balbo, review of Ecstatic in the Poison: New Poems, p. 179.
Booklist, May 15, 1994, Ray Olson, review of The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood, p. 1660.
Commonweal, February 26, 1993, Suzanne Keen, review of The Never-Ending: New Poems, p. 26.
Library Journal, April 1, 1999, Barbara Hoffert, review of Babylon in a Jar, p. 96; July, 2003, Rochelle Ratner, review of Ecstatic in the Poison, p. 86.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, January 31, 1988, Henri Coulette, review of After the Lost War: A Narrative.
New York Times Book Review, May 4, 1986, Peter Stitt, review of Saints and Strangers.
Poetry, June, 1999, David Yezzi, review of Babylon in a Jar, p. 173.
Publishers Weekly, May 30, 1994, review of The Glass Hammer, p. 47; July 27, 1998, review of Babylon in a Jar, p. 72; July 21, 2003, review of Ecstatic in the Poison, p. 189.
Southern Review, autumn, 1992, Dara Wier, review of The Never-Ending, p. 981.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), February 2, 1986, L.M. Rosenberg, review of Saints and Strangers.