ANDREW HUDGINS is the author of seven books of poems, including Saints and Strangers , The Glass Hammer , and most recently Ecstatic in the Poison . A finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, he is a recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships as well as the Harper Lee Award. He currently teaches in the Department of English at Ohio State University.
Babylon In A Jar Paby Andrew Hudgins
These diverse poems of past and present, of order and disorder, press on with the forceful explorations that Andrew Hudgins began with his first book, SAINTS AND STRANGERS, a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in 1985. The wide-ranging poems in this new volume respond with passion to the natural world, to family life, to history, to inheritance: "before he… See more details below
These diverse poems of past and present, of order and disorder, press on with the forceful explorations that Andrew Hudgins began with his first book, SAINTS AND STRANGERS, a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in 1985. The wide-ranging poems in this new volume respond with passion to the natural world, to family life, to history, to inheritance: "before he flooded the rubble, he swept up the dust of Babylon / to give as presents, and he stored it in a jar."
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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I couldn’t stand still watching them forever, but when I moved the grackles covering each branch and twig sprang together into flight and for a moment in midair they held the tree’s shape, the black tree peeling from the green, as if they were its shadow or its soul, before they scattered, circled and re-formed as grackles heading south for winter grain fields.
Oh, it was just a chinaberry tree, the birds were simply grackles. A miracle made from this world and where I stood in it.
But you can’t know how long I stood there watching.
And you can’t know how desperate I’d become advancing each step on the feet of my advancing shadow, how bitter and afraid I was matching step after step with the underworld, my ominous, indistinct and mirror image darkening with extreme and antic nothings the ground I walked on, inexact reversals, elongated and foreshortened parodies of each foot lowering itself onto its shadow.
And you can’t know how I had tried to force the moment, make it happen before it happenednot necessarily this though this is what I saw: black birds deserting the tree they had become, becoming, for a moment in midair, the chinaberry’s shadow for a moment after they had ceased to be the chinaberry, then scattering: meaning after meaningbirds strewn across the morning like flung gravel until they found themselves again as grackles, found each other, found South and headed there, while I stood before the green, abandoned tree.
Copyright © 1998 by Andrew Hudgins. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
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