Andrew Hudgins

A good-humored wife who appreciates most, if not all, of my humor—
her price is far above rubies, as the book of Proverbs doesn’t quite say.

(Andrew Hudgins)

The Green Christ

So long they almost touch
the ground, his awful legs
grow longer. He’s greener than
the tree, his flesh the gray-green
of clouds whipped before
an evening storm, the sunlight
driving through them as if
it could hold them. He seems
all legs. The feet disappear,
insinuating themselves
in earth. You cannot tell
if they are roots or claws
or where the torso branches
out, in arms and legs.
But where it bends as a neck
might bend, the long curve
says compassion as clearly
as the fountained branches of
a willow say weeping. And
when he dies, he twists, like a wound,
around the tree he almost is.
But the green body won’t
stay gone. It spreads from scars.
It flourishes until, in April,
he blooms like dogwood on
the crippled dogwood tree.
Then he is whole, writhing
on his love. He redeems just
his own body, returning
again, again, not having
to say kill me when he dies
or take me when he returns.

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, Alabama, 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.

Books of Poetry

  • Saints and strangers
  • After the Lost War: A Narrative
  • The Never-Ending
  • The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood
  • Babylon in a Jar
  • Ecstatic in the Poison
  • Shut Up, You’re Fine!: Poems for Very, Very Bad Children
  • American Rendering: New and Selected Poems
  • A Clown at Midnight

Literary Awards

  • 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



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