Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Moment With Andrew Hudgins

NN: Your use of narrative structure and dramatic monologue obviously has an impact on the language in your poems. How would you describe that impact?

AH: A couple of years ago after I gave a reading in New York, there was a question-and-answer period, and a woman in the audience asked what was more important to me, story or words, though I think she actually said narrative or language. I tried to joke about the subject; she got annoyed, impatient, and snapped that I should answer the question. And I, in turn, snapped back "story" just because I figured, for no particular reason, that was the answer she would not approve of. But I've always regretted that I didn't have the presence of mind and emotional maturity––twenty-twenty hindsight––to say it's a false choice.

What would you rather hear, a poorly told story or a gorgeous gibberish? Duh! Most people given such a choice would say, "Maybe I'l just take a long, hot bath." But in the real world the answer is, "Why can't I just have a gorgeously told story?" If the choice is Dreiser or Swinburne, choose Dante, Chekov, Faulkner.

"Andrew Hudgins: An Interview with Nick Norwood" from The Glass Anvil by Andrew Hudgins (University of Michigan Press, 1997).