April 9, 2013

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 4, Andrew Hudgins

In addition to the group readings spread throughout the day, one of the hallmarks of the Scissortail festival is the featured readings each day. These are generally regional writers in various genres who have their own slot to read & talk about their writing & get their picture on the Scissortail poster (Note: I snagged one of the big ones at the end of the festival & carefully rolled it up & then left it in the rental car when I checked in at the airport -- wonder what the next renter thought of that?)

Most of us know that there are many (a gasillion?) poets out there we have never heard of so one of the benefits of this festival is hearing writers I've never heard of before. One example is the poet Andrew Hudgins. He was introduced by ECU's Steve Benton, who quoted from a review that described Hudgin's work as "orderly, accessible poetry." Hudgins began by reading sections from his forthcoming memoir, The Joker, including a passage about trying to tell a joke to poet Richard Wilbur. Then he read a bouquet of poems from 2010 collection American Renderings: New and Selected Poems. Many of his poems had to do with memories from childhood, such "Came Back" (his mother), "Haircut" (his father cutting his hair, then he cutting his father's), "In" (about "fog trucks" & dancing "ecstatic in the poison"), & "Blur" (pollen season). "Out" was a poem about a boy being lowered into a well to retrieve the body of a dead dog. "The Circus" was built around surreal images while "Cadillac in the Attic" was the equally surreal revenge of a tenant. A relaxed, humorous reading with moments of tenderness & the sublime. A poet worth looking into if you don't know his work.

Later, there was a grand gathering of us writers & readers at Vintage 22 Wine & Dessert Bar just off the ECU campus, with plenty of good snacks & desserts, & great conversation with new & old friends, fueled by good drinks. Vintage 22 has an upscale, trendy decor & we could just as easily been in New York City as in Ada, Oklahoma. & this was only the end of the 1st day of the Scissortail Festival.

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