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Tuesday, October 10, 2000

Poetry Reading by Andrew Hudgins October 19

SALISBURY, MD---The Department of English and Writers-on-the-Shore present Andrew Hudgins reading his poems Thursday, October 19, at 8 p.m. in the Montgomery Room at the Commons building at Salisbury State University. The presentation is free and the public is invited.

Born in Kileen, TX, Hudgins attended Sidney Lanier High in Montgomery, AL, where the football team was named the Poets. He attended Huntingdon College, the University of Alabama, Syracuse University and the University of Iowa, and in 1984 was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He has taught at Baylor University and, since 1985, the University of Cincinnati. In 1989-90 he held the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton. His honors include the Witter Bynner Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Poets’ Prize for After the Lost War (1988), and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. This fall he is teaching in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins.

Rooted in his Southern Baptist upbringing, the poems of Hudgins, though not religious in the conventional sense, focus on fundamentalism as a backdrop for human behavior to illustrate the disparity between Biblical injunction and Darwinian imperatives. In Saints and Strangers (1985), naked adolescents cavort in a baptismal font and one boy sings "Amazing Grace" in the cartoon voice of Donald Duck. Such irreverence, however, doesn’t mitigate the overarching presence of "God’s clear flesh beneath/its human dying." The poems admit the oppression as well as the ecstasy inherent in religious (and Southern) iconography, and reflect this duality in their comic desperation, their repetitious rituals of absolution and violence, and their plain-spoken, at times scatological, language arranged within the formal cadences of blank verse.

Hudgins’ second volume, the ambitious, book-length narrative After the Lost War (1988), has been described by the poet as "a historical novel in verse that masquerades as a biography of the Civil War veteran and poet Sidney Lanier." The sequence questions the validity and power of the romantic imagination confronted by the landscape of the defeated South, and anticipates Hudgins’ later work in which his characters, often unwillingly, test their faith-in themselves, in God-against commonplace horrors. "I wish my soul were larger than it is," prays one narrator, as racism, sexual violence and death course through these poems. "This world,/this world is home," insists another. "But it/will never feel like home."

His poetry includes Saints and Strangers (1985), After the Lost War: A Narrative (1988), The Never-Ending (1991), The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood (1994) and Babylon in a Jar (1998). His prose includes The Glass Anvil (1997).

For information call the SSU Public Relations Office at 410-543-6030. 

 

  SSU Public Relations - 410-543-6030

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Salisbury, Maryland 21801-6862

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