Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Glascock Poetry Competiton Take 1

Mount Holyoke College is gearing up for the 87th annual Kathryn Irene Glasock Intercollegiate Poetry Contest.

The Glascock Poetry competition honors MHC alum and poet Irene Glascock, who graduated in 1922, and died in 1923.

Each year students from surrounding colleges read poems and are judged and a winner is picked. Some very notable poets have read as tender undergrads, and some very notable poets have judged in years past. To name a few participants, Sylvia Plath, James Merrill, Kenneth Koch, Katha Pollitt, etc., etc.,

Judges have ranged from Auden to Bishop. This year there will be three new judges added to that hallowed list.

Introducing the first along with one of his poems Andrew Hudgins:

Andrew Hudgins was born in Killeen, Texas, on April 22, 1951. He is the author of Saints and Strangers (1985), which was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize; The Never-Ending (1991), a finalist for the National Book Award; and his most recent, Ecstatic in the Poison (Overlook Press, 2003). His book-length poem After the Lost War: A Narrative (1988), in which he addresses the soldier’s life during the Civil War, won the Poets’ Prize.

Below is one of his poems! Enjoy:

Praying Drunk
by Andrew Hudgins Andrew Hudgins
Our Father who art in heaven, I am drunk.
Again. Red wine. For which I offer thanks.
I ought to start with praise, but praise
comes hard to me. I stutter. Did I tell you
about the woman whom I taught, in bed,
this prayer? It starts with praise; the simple form
keeps things in order. I hear from her sometimes.
Do you? And after love, when I was hungry,
I said, Make me something to eat. She yelled,
Poof! You’re a casserole!—and laughed so hard
she fell out of the bed. Take care of her.
Next, confession—the dreary part. At night
deer drift from the dark woods and eat my garden.
They’re like enormous rats on stilts except,
of course, they’re beautiful. But why? What makes
them beautiful? I haven’t shot one yet.
I might. When I was twelve, I’d ride my bike
out to the dump and shoot the rats. It’s hard
to kill your rats, our Father. You have to use
a hollow point and hit them solidly.
A leg is not enough. The rat won’t pause.
Yeep! Yeep! it screams, and scrabbles, three-legged, back
into the trash, and I would feel a little bad
to kill something that wants to live
more savagely than I do, even if
it’s just a rat. My garden’s vanishing.
Perhaps I’ll merely plant more beans, though that
might mean more beautiful and hungry deer.
Who knows?
I’m sorry for the times I’ve driven
home past a black, enormous, twilight ridge.
Crested with mist, it looked like a giant wave
about to break and sweep across the valley,
and in my loneliness and fear I’ve thought,
O let it come and wash the whole world clean.
Forgive me. This is my favorite sin: despair—
whose love I celebrate with wine and prayer.
Our Father, thank you for all the birds and trees,
that nature stuff. I’m grateful for good health,
food, air, some laughs, and all the other things
I’m grateful that I’ve never had to do
without. I have confused myself. I’m glad
there’s not a rattrap large enough for deer.
While at the zoo last week, I sat and wept
when I saw one elephant insert his trunk
into another’s ass, pull out a lump,
and whip it back and forth impatiently
to free the goodies hidden in the lump.
I could have let it mean most anything,
but I was stunned again at just how little
we ask for in our lives. Don’t look! Don’t look!
Two young nuns tried to herd their giggling
schoolkids away. Line up, they called. Let’s go
and watch the monkeys in the monkey house.
I laughed, and got a dirty look. Dear Lord,
we lurch from metaphor to metaphor,
which is—let it be so—a form of praying.
I’m usually asleep by now—the time
for supplication. Requests. As if I’d stayed
up late and called the radio and asked
they play a sentimental song. Embarrassed.
I want a lot of money and a woman.
And, also, I want vanishing cream. You know—
a character like Popeye rubs it on
and disappears. Although you see right through him,
he’s there. He chuckles, stumbles into things,
and smoke that’s clearly visible escapes
from his invisible pipe. It makes me think,
sometimes, of you. What makes me think of me
is the poor jerk who wanders out on air
and then looks down. Below his feet, he sees
eternity, and suddenly his shoes
no longer work on nothingness, and down
he goes. As I fall past, remember me.

The contest itself will take place on Friday April 16 at 8:00 p.m. For more information visit the competition website!


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