Andrew Glaze, Alabama’s 95-Year-Old Poet Laureate, Has Died

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According to his family, Andrew Glaze died on Sunday. The novelist, playwright and poet was currently serving as Poet Laureate of Alabama. Glaze has been called “an essential poet for more than sixty years.”

Glaze was born in Nashville, but grew up in Birmingham. Through his life, Glaze was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and praised by numerous literary magazines and personalities, like poet Robert Frost. In 2015, he was inducted into the Alabama Writers’ Hall of Fame and published his latest collection of poetry, “Overheard in a Drug Store.”

Glaze had a long and full career. He up in Birmingham before attending Harvard University and serving in the air force during World War II. Glaze 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.

Andy Glaze spent more than 30 years living in New York City.

“He travelled in a close knit circle of poets that included writer Norman Rosten, Oscar Williams, William Packard, and John Ciardi,” said his daughter, Elizabeth Glaze.

He returned to Alabama in 2002. Glaze always said his life growing up in the South was always an important part of his work.

Glaze’s four-year term as Poet Laureate of Alabama was set to end in 2017. Talking to WBHM in August of 2015, Glaze said he still loved poetry, and was sometimes surprised by the feelings hearing his old poems stirred.

Listen to WBHM’s August 2015 profile of Andrew Glaze: