Taking the warp of dream, sometimes nightmare, and weaving it with the ordinary world, the poems of The Armillary Sphere, Ann Hudson’s award-winning debut collection, do not simplify the mystery but deepen it. Just as the interlocking rings of the armillary sphere of the title represent the great circles of the heavens, so do the poems herein demonstrate out of the beautiful, the extraordinary, and the cast off, a fresh scaffolding, a new way to see out from the center of our selves, a new measure of our relationship to the things of this world and the next.
Chosen from hundreds of manuscripts as this year’s winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, Ann Hudson’s The Armillary Sphere possesses, in the words of final judge Mary Kinzie,
“… a brightness of spirit and quickness of thought that are conveyed with extraordinary care as she frames moments of experience. Her style is unobtrusive—no fireworks of phrasing obscure the thing felt and seen. So simple a device as taking an intransitive verb transitively can shed strong light on the moment: “A fine sheen /of sweat glistens the cocktail glasses,”—and Hudson studies emotions with a brave restraint that resists cliché, while deftly joining together intuitions that bring contradictory or opposing charge.… Both circular and digressive, Hudson’s portrayal of beings of all ages poised on their varying thresholds brings a novelist’s sense of details unfolding into their future under the control of a fine poet’s pure and condensed language of likeness.”Insomnia
If you were awake too, I’d tell you
the whole story, how I dreamt
we never saw the child, how easily
we forgot. Instead I shuffle
to the porch to watch
traffic pass the house
and an occasional bat dive
under the streetlamps, ruthless
after its dark targets.