Celebrating Andrew Glaze, Alabama’s Poet Laureate, And His New Book

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Novelist, playwright and poet Andrew Glaze is Poet Laureate of Alabama. He’s been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and praised by numerous literary magazines and personalities, like poet Robert Frost. Last month, he was inducted into the Alabama Writers’ Hall of Fame.  His latest collection of poetry, “Overheard in a Drug Store” was just published.

Poet Andrew Glaze smiles as he reads the poem Joyous from his latest book. Glaze doesn’t let the fact that he’s 95-years-old stop him from love poetry, reading it, and creating it. “Overheard in a Drug Store” is Glaze’s first publication since since 2002.

He’s had a long and full career. Glaze grew up in Birmingham before serving in the air force during World War II. He came back to Birmingham where he wrote for the Birmingham Post-Herald during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement before moving to New York City. Those years as a reporter inspired his epic poem I am the Jefferson County Courthouse. Here’s Glaze reading from it shortly after it’s publication in 1981.

Though Andy Glaze spent more than 30 years living in New York City before returning to Alabama in 2002, his life growing up in the South was always an important of his work.

Glaze is just about half-way through his four-year term as Poet Laureate of Alabama. Barry Marks says he’s inspired by the complexity of Glazes’s work. Marks is with the Alabama State Poetry Society, a group that advises the Governor on poet laureate selections. He says his favorite poem from Glaze’s new collection is called “Fisherman.”

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Attorney and poet, Barry Marks
Gina Yu,WBHM

Glaze himself is still wrapped up by the work, sometimes surprised by the feelings hearing his old poems stir. That’s probably one of the reasons he’s been called “an essential poet for more than sixty years.”

Homewood Public Library celebrates Andrew Glaze’s latest book with a book signing and reception Sunday, August 16, at 3 p.m.