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Babylon in a Jar: Poems Paperback – April 25, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (April 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061812697X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618126972
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ANDREW HUDGINS is the author of seven books of poems, including Saints and Strangers, The Glass Hammer, and most recently 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 currently teaches in the Department of English at Ohio State University.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Chinaberry

I couldn’t stand still watching them forever, but when I moved the grackles covering each branch and twig sprang together into flight and for a moment in midair they held the tree’s shape, the black tree peeling from the green, as if they were its shadow or its soul, before they scattered, circled and re-formed as grackles heading south for winter grain fields.
Oh, it was just a chinaberry tree, the birds were simply grackles. A miracle made from this world and where I stood in it.
But you can’t know how long I stood there watching.
And you can’t know how desperate I’d become advancing each step on the feet of my advancing shadow, how bitter and afraid I was matching step after step with the underworld, my ominous, indistinct and mirror image darkening with extreme and antic nothings the ground I walked on, inexact reversals, elongated and foreshortened parodies of each foot lowering itself onto its shadow.
And you can’t know how I had tried to force the moment, make it happen before it happened— not necessarily this though this is what I saw: black birds deserting the tree they had become, becoming, for a moment in midair, the chinaberry’s shadow for a moment after they had ceased to be the chinaberry, then scattering: meaning after meaning— birds strewn across the morning like flung gravel until they found themselves again as grackles, found each other, found South and headed there, while I stood before the green, abandoned tree.

Copyright © 1998 by Andrew Hudgins. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

More About the Author

Andrew Hudgins is the author of seven 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 currently teaches in the Department of English at Ohio State University.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim T on March 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book of poetry more highly. I have read Babylon in a Jar, over numerous times and still never grow weary of it. Andrew Hudgins has a way of combining what it is to be spirit and flesh in such a way that comes to terms with the essence of what it is to be human. His poems are funny, difficult, and from the heart. He is a man of experience who is willing to be transparent about his faults and shortcomings as he grapples with the circumstances he has created and the ones he finds himself surrounded by. "In the Red Seats" and "Rain" are powerful poems showing his range from finding the face of God in a drunkard to a poem speaking profoundly of the lives that are sacrificed so we may live. Hudgins merits more recognition than he receives.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By matt purcell on November 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
I would dare to say that those who have problems with Babylon in a Jar perhaps have not read it closely enough. While what he does here is a great departure from his style in After the Lost War the poems still have a great deal of quality and are linked by the paradox between love and death, or Eros and Thanatos as Hudgins put it when I talked to him today. The dust of Babylon in a jar is a metaphor that can relate to almost every poem in the book, the collection is not haphazard as someone has suggested and while After the Lost War remains my favorite Hudgins work Babylon in the jar has some excellent gems of poetry inside and is eminitely readable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeannine Hall Gailey on August 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have read and re-read this book and always find something new to love. Andrew's narrative southern voice is at once humorous and true. Although his poetry is usually written in playful formalism, there is a bit more of the lyric in this book. His fusion of the divine and the earthy here is particularly effective.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By adead_poet@hotmail.com on May 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the first book by Hudgins that I've read. I've seen his poems in magazines, and those I've seen from Saints and Strangers I really loved. This collection isn't a let down. Hudgins has a definite style that he uses, that can sometimes be hard to understand, but more often than not the poems are good and hit home.
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