American Rendering: New and Selected Poems

American Rendering: New and Selected Poems

American Rendering showcases twenty-four new poems as well as a generous selection from Andrew Hudgins’s six previous volumes, spanning a distinguished career of more than twenty-five years. Hudgins, who was born in Texas and spent most of his childhood in the South, is a lively and prolific poet who draws on his vivid Southern and,more specifically, Southern Baptist, childhood. Influenced by writers such as John Crowe Ransom,William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and James Dickey, Hudgins has developed a distinctively descriptive form of the Southern Gothic imagination. His poems are rich with religious allusions, irreverent humor, and at times are inflected with a dark and violent eroticism.Of Hudgins’s most recent collection, Ecstatic in the Poison, Mark Strand wrote: “[It] is full of intelligence, vitality, and grace. And there is a beautiful oddness about it.Dark moments seem charged with an eerie luminosity and the most humdrum events assume a startling lyric intensity. A deep resonant humor is everywhere, and everywhere amazing.”

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547487311

  • ISBN-10: 0547487312

  • Pages: 240

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 04/12/2010

  • Carton Quantity: 10

Andrew Hudgins

Andrew Hudgins

ANDREW HUDGINS is the author of several books of poems, including Saints and Strangers, The Glass Hammer, and 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 is a professor emeritus of Ohio State University.
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  • reviews

    "[American Rendering] gives ample proof for the critical esteem in which [Hudgin’s] work is widely held. Hudgins’ poems are often funny, hinging on a joke or wisecrack or malapropism, but human nature red in tooth and claw has always been his greatest theme." —BookPage

    "Hudgins’s eighth collection and first retrospective confirms him as one of the few poets of the American South who can be both solemn and sidesplitting in a single poem." -- Publishers Weekly

  • excerpts

    My Daughter

    After midnight, I dragged carpet padding

    from a trash bin and spread it on the asphalt

    between the wall and dumpster. Screened from sleet,

    I pulled carpet remnants over me, and that night

    I married, raised a family, and outlived everyone

    except a daughter - a teacher - and her two children,

    one damaged. I woke when a bread truck scraped the bin.

    From under damp carpet, I watched punctilious men

    sign invoices, sweep, hose down the docks. A boy

    in a bloody butcher's smock leaned against the wall

    and smoked through bloody fingers.

    At night, I search

    and sometimes find my daughter. “I make good money now,”

    I tell her. “Let me take Teresa home with me.

    I can buy the help she needs.” My daughter smiles,

    asks how I'm doing, and I lose the moment

    to my wife, my job, my actual

    family, as the thick-faced infant bucks in her arms

    or beats her forehead hard and almost musically

    against the table. When I clench her to my belly,

    she screams, red-faced and rigid. “Hush, hush, hush,”

    I serenade her. “O unhushable baby, hush.”


    Down the long, wide, and closely trimmed acres of Mammon,

    plate toppling with saffron potato salad, I followed my shadow

    to an appealingly dilapidated pond. Ghostly koi coasted under ripples

    undulating to the tempo of hidden pumps. Fish mouths

    mouthed my shadow, and among them moved a golden

    adumbration. Voluptuous fins feathered the water, blossoming

    like massive chrysanthemums that opened and opened

    - bud to blowsy, blowsy to blown - and gently closed.

    Gold propelled itself on delicate explosions, dissolving

    and resolving in aureate metamorphoses, golden fish to golden flower,

    flower to fish. But fins I thought petals were actually,

    I could not believe this, wings. It was a trained bird, a pullet,

    slipping under silk lilies. Before I could even be astonished,

    the shadow of wealth stood beside my shadow, a large man,

    sly look worn always openly. “I call that one Mother,” he said,

    and laughed. “Then I'll call her Mother too,” I answered, laughing with him

    because on Fridays I gathered balls while he snapped chip shots,

    one after one, over the hood of his Benz, yellow balls

    arcing black lacquer I'd polished and onto a green I'd swept.

    He never thwacked a door panel, dimpled the hood, or, dear God,

    as I prayed from behind a rigid grin, slapped a frosted star

    through safety glass. “Risk,” he explained. “Risk makes you concentrate.”

    Orange carp gulped hopefully at our reflections. A sandblasted dolphin,

    nearly amorphous with calculated age, shot filtered water into filtered water.

    “This is America,” he told me. Though I was the help, of course I was invited.

    At our feet, Mother, never surfacing, lapped the pool like an Olympian.


    The man in front of us leaned out his door

    and spat. The radio boohooed,

    “I'm wearing my crying shoes.” What the hell

    does that mean? I wondered, as the blonde beside me,

    eyes shut, heels propped on the dash, slapped her thighs,

    and bawled, “Crying shoes! I'm wearing

    my crying shoes.”

    “This light's going to last forever,”

    I said. “Let's steal a car!” she answered, eyes glistening.

    Scuffed bucks rested on the drilled-out brake

    and accelerator. They were my shoes. I had a car. We were in it.

    Or was that her point - I was boredom itself?

    The spitter wheeled into Burger King, stood,

    and, one hand on the roof, spat compactly,

    watching it. “Steal a car? How about a movie?”

    “What are you, the only white man left in the world?”

    “No, there's me and whoever's singing that goddamn song.

    And that dude spitting on his shoes. But that's it.

    That's all of us.” Violins slid in lard across the song's

    sad bridge, and true to spoony music's low

    simpering allure, I hummed along in her silence

    until, with my right crying shoe, I pegged the accelerator.

    The tires rose on haggard rubber, screaming

    against the engine's scream, one song obliterating the other,

    and the V-8 forging forward banged us back.

    Lorraine's Song

    Lorraine sang, Mouth or knife,

    mouth or knife at

    the knothole - which, which, which?

    From the other side of the fence,

    she sang, Steel or lips

    at the knothole? Tongue

    or blade? she chanted - which,

    which, which, and giggled,

    teasing. I put myself

    in the hole. Myself? It felt

    like my whole self when

    she put her mouth on me

    and I jerked away, afraid.

    Bodiless laughter rang

    from the opening, low and joyous.

    Mouth or knife. Mouth

    or knife. Which, which, which?

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547487311

  • ISBN-10: 0547487312

  • Pages: 240

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 04/12/2010

  • Carton Quantity: 10