The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood

Overview

The Glass Hammer, the fourth book of poems by the celebrated author of After the Lost War, is a southern narrative poem. It tells the story of a boy brought up in a military family in Texas and Alabama, and it is as rich in emotion and experience as any novel, as family life itself. In a sequence of sixty-five short lyrics, the narrator moves from the anecdotal circumstances of his infancy to the rebellions of his youth and adolescence, from the tragedy of his mother's death to the acceptance of his father's ...
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NY 1995 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. New. Fast Arrival. Collectors item. Carefuly packed in bubble wrap. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. Audience: ... General/trade. New. Fast Arrival. Collectors item. Carefuly packed in bubble wrap. Read more Show Less

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The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood

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Overview

The Glass Hammer, the fourth book of poems by the celebrated author of After the Lost War, is a southern narrative poem. It tells the story of a boy brought up in a military family in Texas and Alabama, and it is as rich in emotion and experience as any novel, as family life itself. In a sequence of sixty-five short lyrics, the narrator moves from the anecdotal circumstances of his infancy to the rebellions of his youth and adolescence, from the tragedy of his mother's death to the acceptance of his father's disciplinary love. This sequence of poems is human, solid, passionate, rueful, and eminently readable. It is as transparent as a mountain brook and moves as fast. It is as painful and powerful and surprising as first love and first loss.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Recounting a childhood spent on military bases in the South during the '50s and '60s, Hudgins's ( The Never - Ending ) new book is not a glass hammer but a sequence of 65 little hammers--poems. He takes the tradition of the Southern narrative poem and gives it a new edge, paring down picturesque elements and allowing only the vital details to make it to the printer. Despite a highly developed technique, his voice has a rough veneer, which he cultivates, and for which he offers no apologies. This combination of craft and grit yields a poetry of aggressive charm. A novelistic quality runs through Hudgins's sequence. Though several familiar characters form the subject matter--the racist grandmother, the fundamentalist Baptist preacher, the author as a book-loving nerd--they are presented with a refreshing objectivity. It's as if Hudgins writes about them just long enough to locate both the demonic and the human, then places them on the shelf for posterity, to begin another poem. His book can and should be read as a chapter in the recent history of the South. It's a deftly composed chapter, conceived without undue glamour, filled with an adult's grateful remembrance and wary respect. (June)
Library Journal
In a series of razor-sharp portraits, Hudgins describes what it is like to grow up in a Southern military family in the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout, he deftly balances memories of the tough love and flavorsome speech of his childhood (``Hard? You don't know what hard is, boy:/when I was your age we got up in pitch dark,/and walked five miles to school and ten miles back,...Shoot, you've always had/hot food plopped in front of you, like magic./ For you, it's all ice cream and soda pop'') with his growing awareness of the pervasive racism and ignorance of his extended white family. The powerfully direct, anecdotal quality of these poems invites the reader to experience a deeply flawed world the poet has transformed into a more palatable place by his humor and compassion. Recommended for contemporary poetry collections.-Christine Stenstrom, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395700105
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/19/1995
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Hudgins was born in Texas, raised mainly in Alabama, and educated all across the Uninted States. Today, he teaches at the University of Cincinnati, where he lives with his wife, the novelist Erin McGraw.
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Table of Contents

The Glass Hammer 3
Granny Raines 4
Original Sin 5
Bright Leaf 10
My Father's Corpse 11
In a Car outside the Vineyard Baptist Church 12
Salt 13
Childhood of the Ancients 14
Yellowjackets 15
Grandmother's Spit 17
Dog Pile 18
Aunt Mary Jean 19
Was 20
Haircut 21
Threats and Lamentations 22
The Telling 23
Funeral Parlor Fan 24
Acquired Taste 26
Transistor Radio 27
Fireflies after Twilight 28
Begotten 33
Teevee with Grandmomma 34
What a Grand World It Would Be! 35
The Visible Man 36
Blemishes 37
Blue Danube 38
Skeeter Kites 39
Lists 40
Gospel 42
Tricks of the Body 43
Tree 44
The Air 45
Patchwork 46
Blue Tree 47
Fist 48
Magic Button 49
Sit Still 50
The Benedictine Hand 51
Thus 52
Swing Blade 53
Slap 55
When I Was Saved 56
My Father's Rage 57
Sidney Lanier High 61
James Bond Considers Career Opportunities in Library Science 62
Jack 63
Mending Socks 65
Oh, Say, Can You See? 66
Wisdom and Advice 67
Biff Burger 68
The Rapture 69
After the Dance 70
Colonel 71
At Work 72
The Needs of the Joke Teller 73
Chihuahuas 77
Dangling 79
Mother's Funeral 80
Biceps 83
Seventeen 84
The Social Order 86
Huge 88
Burial Insurance 92
Hunting with My Brother 95
Afterword 97
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